Gary Neville points to one positive from Man United’s Champions League exit
Gary Neville claims that Man United's Champions League exit may boost their top-four hopes
Gary Neville believes that the one positive to come from Manchester United’s Champions League exit is that the Red Devils can now focus on their league form.
Ralf Rangnick’s side were dumped out of the competition at the last-16 stage on Tuesday night following a 1-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid at Old Trafford, which resulted in a 2-1 aggregate loss.
Manchester United now only have Premier League places to play for this season as they bid to find some form and hoist themselves up the table.
As things stand, the Red Devils are currently fifth in the table and a point behind fourth-placed Arsenal – but United have played two games more than the Gunners.
The Red Devils have some tricky games coming up in April, including clashes against Liverpool FC and Arsenal away from home.
Former Manchester United star Neville has now stated his belief that Tuesday night’s Champions League exit may boost their hopes of finishing in the top four this season.
Speaking to Sky Sports on Wednesday, Neville said: “The only benefit of Manchester United going out last night, if there is one at all, is that they are now 100 per cent focused on the league and getting into the Champions League is their priority.
“Their best chance of getting into the Champions League and finishing in the top four is probably being out of the Champions League so they can focus everything on it.
“However, I’m not sure what that will have done for their confidence because it was a miserable night.
“I was in the stadium. I walked down to the pitch at the end of the game and I got a closer view of the disappointment and the dejection than I ordinarily would do up on the gantry. They were absolutely brassed off. They were disappointed, dejected, upset.
“They wilted in that second half. There was no plan. The game just fizzled out. There was no real big finish that you would expect when you’re 1-0 down. It was a real bad moment but not surprising.”
Posting on social media after Tuesday night’s defeat, summer signing Raphael Varane insisted that he and his team-mates are determined to finish the season on a high despite the disappointment of the loss.
“We will not point fingers, fight each other or complain,” Varane wrote on Instagram. “We can reflect on the season when the battle is finished.
“The atmosphere last night was incredible, we will fight for everything for this club until the last minute of the season.
“Failure is a foundation of victory. Proud to defend Manchester United.”
Manchester United are not back in Premier League action until 2 April, when they host Leicester City at Old Trafford. After that, they will take on Everton, Norwich, Liverpool FC and Arsenal.