Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has expressed his concerns over the likelihood of having to play an qualifier at the beginning of next season in order to progress into the group stages of the Champions League.
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Following United’s 1-1 draw against top-four rivals Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday evening, van Gaal’s side need to beat relegation threatened Hull City on the last day of the season at the KC Stadium and hope that the Gunners lose both of their remaining fixtures – which are both at home against Sunderland and West Brom.
The Red Devils mathematically clinched a return to Europe’s elite competition with two games to spare after their closest challengers Liverpool were beaten at home by Crystal Palace at the weekend.
But the prospect of having to play an extra two games of such importance at the start of next season has van Gaal calling for caution from United supporters:
“We have not qualified for the Champions League because we still have to play that round. We have to play a qualifier.” The Dutchman told reporters (via The Sun).
“It’s stressful because you could meet an opponent who is halfway through the season and we are starting the season, we have to be realistic — it won’t be easy.” van Gaal stressed.