The Red Devils have endured a difficult opening half of the 2018-19 season to leave Manchester United a long way behind the leading four teams in the Premier League.
The 20-time English champions opted to sack Jose Mourinho following a 3-1 loss to Liverpool FC at Anfield last month which left Manchester United 11 points behind the top four.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken over the reins of the club on an interim basis and the former Manchester United striker has made an impressive start at Old Trafford.
Manchester United scored 11 times in Solskjaer’s first three Premier League games in charge after notching up victories over Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town and Bournemouth to dramatically change the mood at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils then claimed a 2-0 win over Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Wednesday night to continue their fine form and keep within three points of fifth-placed Arsenal.
That result left Manchester United in sixth place in the Premier League table and just six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea FC.
Speaking at his media conference ahead of Newcastle’s loss to Manchester United on Wednesday night, Benitez explained why the Red Devils simply have to secure a top-four spot.
“It’s a team that has to be easily in the top four, that is very clear,” Benitez said.
“They can compete against Manchester City, Liverpool, anyone. We are talking about one of the biggest clubs in the world in terms of everything.
“The players they have, they are so good that if you want to win or get points against them you have to perform really well.”
Manchester United – who take on Reading in the FA Cup this weekend – have failed to win the Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson stood down as manager in 2013 following a 13th top-flight title of his reign.
The Red Devils have only finished in the top four twice in the past five seasons under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho.
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