Erik ten Hag admits qualifying for the Champions League is vital to his Manchester United project as the race for top four places goes down to the wire.
Ten Hag’s side remain in control of their destiny despite a recent wobble that gave Liverpool renewed hope of catching their bitter rivals.
Fourth placed United head to Bournemouth on Saturday holding a one-point lead over fifth placed Liverpool, who face Aston Villa at the weekend.
United have three games to play while Liverpool have only two, but Ten Hag knows defeats against Brighton and West Ham prior to their victory over Wolves last weekend put his team’s Champions League hopes in unnecessary jeopardy.
And he reminded his players of the importance of finishing in the top four at the end of his largely encouraging first season in charge.
“When I see this project, first of all it’s important to get in the Champions League,” Ten Hag told reporters on Friday.
“We have to win to get in the Champions League. We have everything in our hands so focus on the game, the games coming up, the first game is the most important.”
In a potential blow to their hopes of beating Bournemouth, United could again be without England forward Marcus Rashford.
He missed the Wolves game with a leg injury but had been expected to be available this weekend before going down with illness.
“Rashy trained well the whole week but today he reported he doesn’t feel well, so he is ill. We have to see how he recovers during the day and then see tomorrow,” Ten Hag said.
United’s on-loan midfielder Marcel Sabitzer will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Asked whether the Bayern Munich player could have a future at Old Trafford, Ten Hag said: “We will see. It’s not our main focus, the main focus is Bournemouth.”
World Cup News
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Tuesday blasted as “insufficient” the apology given by...
Spain’s Women’s World Cup hero Olga Carmona paid tribute to her father on Monday...
Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso defended Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales after he came...
Sunday’s World Cup final between England and Spain is the final act of a...