David de Gea insists Manchester United can’t afford another season without Champions League football, reports the Daily Mail.
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United go into their game against Aston Villa at Old Trafford at the weekend in the top four and have opened up five point gap over Liverpool thanks to back-to-back victories against the Reds and Tottenham before the international break.
Those results have left the Red Devils in a strong position to qualify for the Champions League next season, but they still face tough trip to league leaders Chelsea, while local rivals Manchester City and fellow top-four rivals still have to visit Old Trafford before the season is out.
This season was the first since 1990 that United had not qualified for European competition after finishing seventh last year in a disappointing campaign under David Moyes.
And de Gea, who has been in excellent form this season, admits they must hold on to their place in the top four:
“We have to qualify for the Champions League no matter what.” the Spaniard told the club’s official website (via Daily Mail).
“We already missed out last season, and a team like Manchester United cannot do that two years in a row.” he added.