Paul Merson issues warning to Man United over Europa League

The Arsenal legend explains why Manchester United can't take the Europa League lightly

Paul Merson has warned Manchester United that winning the Europa League could be their only route into next season’s Champions League.

The Red Devils are three points off fourth-placed Liverpool in the table after seven Premier League games ahead of their trip to Anfield on Monday 17 October.

United failed to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition under Louis van Gaal last season after their derby rivals Manchester City pipped the Red Devils to fourth place.

The Red Devils were 1-0 winners against Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk in their last Europa League game thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s winner after a 1-0 defeat by Eredivisie side Feyenoord in their opening group-stage fixture.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson warned Mourinho’s side to take the Europa League seriously.

“He knows they haven’t been good enough. Look what happened in the Europa League. The team he put out was just about the strongest he could,” Merson wrote in his Daily Star column.

“That told me he knows he might need the Europa League as a safety net. He’s never had to take it seriously before.

“But with a Champions League place for the winner and United not going well in the league they might need to take it seriously now.”

Mourinho’s side have still to find some consistent form this season despite spending over £150m in the summer transfer window on four new signings.

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Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba all completed moves to United in the summer under new manager Mourinho.

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