Erik ten Hag says Manchester United should be competing in the Champions League and not the Europa League.
The Red Devils are set to clash with Barcelona today in the first leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off tie.
A game between these two European powerhouses is worthy of a major final, but they must settle with a Europa League play-off game.
Man United’s boss Ten Hag insisted that United and Barcelona ‘belong to the Champions League’ but have to earn their participation.
He said on Matchday Q&A (via ManUtd.com), “I think we are both in the right direction. When you are playing in the Europa League, that is not the place we want to be.
“These clubs, Barcelona and Manchester United, belong in the Champions League.
“But you have to earn it, so we have to work hard. I think we are in both the right direction, but we are very strong – both clubs.”
Manchester United have to regain Champions League status
The United faithful will accept that even after plenty of bumps, their team has performed well to be alive in all four competitions.
Winning the Premier League title was not even on the cards when Ten Hag took charge last summer.
However, his attacking and attractive style of football has helped United to be just five points behind league leaders Manchester City.
They are currently in the third spot having amassed 46 points, seven points more than fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Considering their form, United should be able to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League next season.
This does not mean that they will take the Europa League lightly. Ten Hag wants to win every game, which is the demand he puts in front of his players.
The clash with Barcelona will demonstrate how much the Red Devils have progressed under the new manager.
They will aim to win the Europa League and add it to their trophy cabinet, which has been gathering dust for the last six years.
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