The draw against West Brom came at a not so good time for the Red Devils as they failed to take advantage of the points dropped by teams around them in the points table.
Jose Mourinho will know that importance of finishing in the top-4 and qualifying for the Champions League next season but with five points between then and Manchester City, though with a game in hand, United will have to find some consistency to move into the top-4.
But that will be a harder prospect for United than any other club in the top-6 as Mourinho’s side are also involved in the FA Cup and also the Europa League where they have a decent chance of going all the way.
The FA Cup could give United their second silverware this season while the Europa League will act as a backdoor in the Champions League, if they are able to win it.
And Mourinho has now convinced that he might have to shift his focus onto the Europa League to have a shot at Champions League football next season.
Speaking to the media recently, Mourinho revealed that he now has to plan his squad between the games in different competitions and that the next couple of Premier League fixtures might decide the way he will approach the rest of the season.
He said: ‘Against Everton, we’re going to try to play with our best team and try to win. After that we go to Sunderland with the same perspective.
‘Then the Europa League comes, and then I don’t know…,’ he added.
The Portuguese manager also revealed that if United fail to collect enough points from these two games, he will forced to using a weakened team in the domestic league, to try and keep his star players fresh for the European competition.
‘Then, it’s possible that you will see me play in the Premier League with a team where I’m going to protect the players I consider fundamental for the Europa League.”
‘But only – only – if the results in the next matches put us in a situation where, mathematically, it becomes almost impossible to make the top four,” he added.
United still have every chance of qualification in the domestic league but Mourinho already sounded like he was more interested in winning the Europa League than he is in qualifying for the top-4.
‘Until it’s impossible mathematically, we’ll keep trying, because this week is a week without the Europa League.
‘This week is easy from the focus point of view. We have to play two matches, and we have to go for them thinking about the Premier League, nothing else.
‘Then we have Anderlecht and the quarter-final, first leg of the Europa League, which is very important for us,’ Mourinho added.
Do you think United will qualify for the Champions League next season?