MANCHESTER UNITED and West Ham’s fight for fourth may yet prove worthless in their pursuit of Champions League football.
United, in fifth place, are just one point behind neighbours Manchester City with seven games to go, while the Hammers sit in sixth spot, three points off qualification for Europe’s elite club competition.
However, fourth place could yet earn only Europa League football for next season.
That would be the case in the event both City and Liverpool lifted European trophies this season, with the winners of the Europa League earning direct entry into the Champions League the following season.
The Daily Mail reports:
“If both Premier League sides are named winners but fail to finish in the top four, only the top three in the Premier League table will gain Champions League qualification.
“UEFA rules allow up to five teams from one country to compete in a single Champions League campaign, and winning the European trophies takes priority over fourth in the Premier League.”
With City’s faltering form in the Premier League, there’s every chance they could be overtaken by one or both of United and West Ham, while Liverpool are too far back to mount a late charge for the top four.
Of course it’s unlikely Manuel Pellegrini’s men and the Merseysiders will both go all the way in Europe but West Ham in particular would be left heartbroken if they did squeeze into the top four, only to be denied their first ever appearance in the Champions League.