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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Says Man United Could 'Suffer' Outside of Champions League

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2020

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manager of Manchester United looks on during a press conference ahead of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match against Club Brugge at Aon Training Complex on February 26, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Manchester United might "suffer" financially if the club don't qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

Patric Ridge of Goal reported the Norwegian told a news conference he hopes the Red Devils find a route into Europe's top competition next season, with his team set to play Club Brugge on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League knockouts:

"We're a big club and we've got good finances but the longer you're out the more you suffer, so it's an ambition to get back into the Champions League.

"For footballing reasons and financially it will help the club. We've got to focus on this competition, then the league on Sunday and then FA Cup."

BRUGGE, BELGIUM - FEBRUARY 20: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Brandon Mechele of Club Brugge and Anthony Martial of Manchester United battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg match between Club Brugge and Manchester United at Jan Breyde
DeFodi Images/Getty Images

United welcome Brugge to Old Trafford for the second leg of their last-32 tie after a 1-1 draw in Belgium.

Solskjaer's men remain fifth in the Premier League, and winning the Europa will open the door to a Champions League qualification spot.

Chelsea are three points clear of United in fourth. Solskjaer added his team must perform to advance on Thursday, but said the club can't rely on the Europa as their only path back to the top table of European football.

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"I think we need to take one game at a time. Both [qualification routes] are possible. In a cup competition, you never know. It might be a bad day.

"You can't rely on winning this. There are some good teams in it and we need to get past Brugge. We're looking forward to the game."

Ian Walton/Associated Press

United's net debt rose by £73.6 million over the last year, according to the club's financial reports for the second quarter of 2019-20. The Old Trafford giants now carry a net debt of £391.3 million. Total revenues have slumped by 19.3 per cent to £168.4 million.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward addressed Tuesday's financial report, declaring United are working towards "winning trophies with a team playing entertaining, attacking football." Woodward added the recent purchase of Bruno Fernandes was an "important step" towards achieving the team's ambitions.

United have provided promising displays since Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho in December 2018, but they have struggled to get results against teams in the bottom half of the table.

Defeats to Burnley, Watford, Bournemouth, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Crystal Palace have contributed towards United's position outside of the Champions League places.

Fernandes has immediately shown he can inspire United to better performances, and Solskjaer has the remaining 11 Premier League matches to prove his team can take the next step in their development.

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