Van Gaal finds out the task at hand – win by 19 goals

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE -

Can Manchester United fin­ish in the top four?

If they beat Bournemouth, United will draw level with Manchester City on 66 points but they would need to win by 19 clear goals to guar­an­tee fourth and Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion given their ri­vals’ su­pe­rior goal dif­fer­ence.

So fifth and the Europa League is the best United can hope for?

Yes. A point would move them above Southamp­ton and se­cure fifth po­si­tion and en­try into the Europa League group stage.

But what if they lose to Bournemouth?

That would mean United fin­ish­ing sixth be­hind Southamp­ton be­cause the South Coast club have a bet­ter goal dif­fer­ence al­though Louis van Gaal’s team would still qual­ify for the Europa League group stage if they beat Crys­tal Palace in the FA Cup fi­nal. Southamp­ton would also be as­sured of en­try into the Europa League group stage. A United Cup win would also earn sev­enth-placed West Ham United Europa League qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

What hap­pens if United lose the FA Cup fi­nal and fin­ish sixth in the Premier League?

United would en­ter the Europa League at the third qual­i­fy­ing round stage and ef­fec­tively take the place va­cated by the Cap­i­tal One Cup win­ners, Manchester City, be­cause they qual­i­fied for the Cham­pi­ons League. West Ham would miss out on Europe as a con­se­quence.

How would that af­fect United?

The first-leg ties of the Europa League third qual­i­fy­ing round are due to be played on July 28 with the sec­ond legs on Aug 4. United in­volve­ment would throw their planned pre-sea­son tour of China into jeop­ardy given that they are due to play games against Borus­sia Dort­mund and Manchester City on July 22 and July 25 re­spec­tively. Wayne Rooney’s tes­ti­mo­nial against Ever­ton, pro­vi­sion­ally slated for Aug 3 but with no for­mal date set, would also be af­fected.

Does it mat­ter to Bournemouth where they fin­ish?

Yes. Vic­tory would move Ed­die Howe’s team up from 16th po­si­tion to 14th and earn the club an ex­tra £2.5 mil­lion in prize money.

Wait­ing game: Louis van Gaal knows what United need to do in the fi­nal game of the sea­son against Bournemouth at Old Traf­ford to­mor­row

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