Manchester United will compete in the Europa League next season, despite signing the 2021/22 Premier League season after losing 1-0 to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon.
Former United winger Wilfried Zaha scored the only goal of the match to condemn United to their fourth defeat in their last six matches, meaning interim coach Ralph Rangnick scored his last match in charge with another defeat. Fortunately, West Ham United also lost on the final day of the campaign, meaning United did not drop to seventh place.
This means that they will join Arsenal in the Europa League competition next season. West Ham will compete in the European League.
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United have entered this season with aspirations to contend for the Premier League title, which means the prospect of losing the Champions League may never have occurred to them. However, despite bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club and signing Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho, United will have to settle into the Europa League next season.
The fact of losing the Champions League was struck last month, when Rangnick admitted, after the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, that his hopes for the top four are over, although the calculations indicate otherwise. United, although they asked for snooker, they still had an outside chance. But the Europa League isn’t all bad.
“I mean, it’s bad enough that we won’t be playing on Tuesday and Wednesday night in the Champions League,” Rangnick told United media before the final day’s game with Palace. “But knowing we’ll be playing on Thursday night, I think it’s important.
“And even more so for the players, and also for our fans that we qualified for the Europa League because in the Europa League, Manchester United reached the final the previous season. The last season they played in the final against Villarreal and Frankfurt won the Europa League for two days. In the past in style, qualifying for the League European champions. That’s why I think it’s very important to qualify for the Europa League.”
Given that United finished the season disappointingly, they may be lucky that they will have the Europa League to participate in next season. It is considered a more fierce and respected tournament than the conference tournament.
Plus, if United prove successful in the competition, just as they did in 2016/17, they will secure a place in the 2023/24 Champions League without having to secure a fourth place next season, though. would be expecting. United also reached the final of the competition last season, losing to Villarreal on penalties.
After introducing the European Conference League for the first time at the beginning of this season, the European League – which is a step up from the Conference League – has undergone massive changes ahead of its 51st season. The changes implemented were as follows:
“The group stage has been reduced from 48 to 32 teams – eight groups of four,” UEFA explained. The eight group winners automatically advance to the round of 16.
There will be additional knockout qualifiers before the Round of 16; These will be between the eight UEFA Europa League group runners-up and eight UEFA Champions League third-placed teams.
These changes brought an element of the Champions League to the Europa League this season. Rangers, who finished the runner-up in the European League this season, faced Borussia Dortmund in the knockout match in the European League, after the latter was eliminated from the Champions League. This means United could end up facing one of the Champions League elite next season if they do not win their Europa League group.
United last won Group L in the Europa League since the start of the season, which means they hope history will repeat itself this time around to avoid a potential knockout match. Moreover, if they finish third in their group in the Europa League, United will still have a chance of winning the European Cup as they will be relegated to the Conference League before resuming after Christmas.
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