Manchester United Qualify for Champions League After Leicester City Win

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at The King Power Stadium on July 26, 2020 in Leicester, England.Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Pool via Getty Images)

Manchester United qualified for next season’s Champions League campaign after a 2-0 win at Leicester City. Goals from Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard ensured a hard-earned victory over the Foxes. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side secured European qualification and finish third despite a disappointing opening half to the season. The result rounds off a successful Premier League campaign since United achieved their main objective.

Manchester United Qualify for Champions League After Victory Over Leicester City

A Cagy Game

Watching without context, it was hard to believe the two sides were battling for Champions League football. The game was, as expected, very intense, with neither side committing too many men forward.

Leicester arguably had the better of the first half. Their pressing style of play only increased the nerves of the Manchester United side and caused plenty of problems. Nemanja Matic and Harry Maguire in particular struggled with the Leicester press and Kelechi Iheanacho‘s menacing movement.

In possession, United were not much better for the most part. Despite scoring the penalty, Bruno Fernandes had one of his worst games for United, and Marcus Rashford was largely anonymous too. Perhaps the occasion got the better of the United team.

High-pressure games are almost always decided by a piece of magic or a set-piece. This game was no different as United were awarded a penalty. Bruno Fernandes offered nothing in an offensive way all game, however, he produced one effective pass. He threaded Anthony Martial through into the box before both Jonny Evans and Wes Morgan brought him down. A lengthy VAR check confirmed the referee’s decision and Bruno calmly slotted the penalty home.

In stoppage time, Jesse Lingard rounded the game off. He tapped the ball into an open goal after a massive error from Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Champions League Qualification for Manchester United

The result means Manchester United finish the Premier League season in third place. This is a great achievement when compared to some of the lower points earlier in the season. After results such as Burnley at home and Newcastle United away, Champions League qualification seemed unattainable.

Manchester United’s last defeat was that home game against Burnley. After the toxicity of the result, United needed change. One week later, Bruno Fernandes signed and the club’s fortuned changed for the rest of the season.

The Portuguese star’s impact switched Manchester United’s style of play. He allowed the side to effectively break down the smaller sides and not rely on a counter-attacking display.

After this excellent undefeated run, with some emphatic victories, United will proudly return to the Champions League next season. This is key to continue Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s long term vision of winning a Premier League title in charge of the side he played for.

Transfer Plans

Qualification for the Champions League helps Manchester United in multiple ways. Not least in their recruitment plans.

Playing amongst Europe’s elite aids United bring in Europe’s brightest stars. Jadon Sancho is United’s number one target as United search for a new right winger. It would be incredibly difficult to land top players without this third-placed place finish.

Manchester United’s on the pitch focus switches to the Europa League, however, off the pitch, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the recruitment team will be firmly attentive to adding quality to the squad.

After a third-place finish, the long term aim is to close the gap on their biggest rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

 

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