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