United suffered a big blow this week in the race for the top four, losing our second in three league games.
While it’s far from over, it’s also worth acknowledging that Europa League qualification might not be as awful as it seems.
Yes Thursday night football is not ideal, and can negatively impact a league campaign, but there are lessons to be learned from how Arsenal have approached it this season.
A number of academy players have been given first team chances in the Europa League. This has spared first team players long trips and over-use.
United have a number of young players waiting for their chance, and this could end up being the best thing to happen to them.
Next season in the Europa League they can get proper game time and start building a credible case for more first team minutes in the Premier League.
Ideally of course United can rally and finish in the top four.
If it doesn’t work out, which is realistic given our defensive issues and tough fixtures, then the sad eventuality of dropping into the Europa League can be spun into a positive too.