Craig Burley predicts where Man United will finish
Craig Burley says Man United are the favourites to finish in the Premier League's top four this season
Craig Burley believes that Manchester United will finish in the Premier League’s top four this season – but he still has major concerns about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s long-term future at the club.
The Red Devils suffered a blow to their hopes of sealing Champions League qualification on Monday night when they were pegged back and held to a 2-2 draw by Southampton at Old Trafford.
That result allowed Chelsea FC to pull four points clear of the Red Devils thanks to their 1-0 win over Norwich City at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
Manchester United will take on Crystal Palace on Thursday night as they look to try and reignite their top-four hopes, before they turn their attention to their remaining Premier League games against West Ham United and Leicester City.
ESPN FC pundit Burley feels that although Manchester United do look likely to finish in the top four this season, he feels that the club would be in a much better position with a “world-class” coach in charge.
Speaking in an interview with ESPN FC, Burley said: “I think United are the favourites to get in it [the top four] because of their remaining fixtures but if they’d have had a man in charge from the start of the season who in my opinion was up to the task properly they would probably have nailed it down already by now.
“That’s my point, if United fans can’t take that and don’t like it then tough. Continue [like that and] you’ll be chasing the tail of Manchester City and Liverpool in the coming seasons.
“Manchester United are one of the biggest commercial juggernauts in the world and have been for some while. Their standards are a lot higher than most others. I would suggest sitting in fifth in the table is not great shape for Man United unless standards have dropped.
“I acknowledge some of their great young players, I don’t deny that. But the big question isn’t if these young players produce, it’s has he [Solskjaer] got the tactical nous when it comes to the nitty gritty, can he outwit two of the best managers on the planet in [Jurgen] Klopp and [Pep] Guardiola?
“And don’t think these teams will sit on their hands. They [Liverpool FC] will go out and replenish that squad in the summer, Man City will definitely go again even more so now we know they are going to be playing in the Champions League.
“We know these teams have got world-class managers, we cannot hand on heart, absolutely nobody can, apart from one or two cheerleaders, sit here and say Man United have got a world-class coach, If anybody does they’re stupid.”
Manchester United are still in two cup competitions this season, with the Red Devils due to take on Chelsea FC in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.
The Red Devils will also play LASK in the return leg of their Europa League last 16 clash on 5 August after having won the first leg 5-0.