Analysis: What Man Utd need to qualify for the 2024/25 UEFA Champions League


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A positive first season under Erik ten Hag had Manchester United fans dreaming of a potential Premier League title charge in 2023/24. However, things have been far from simple this time around.

After finishing third to secure a return to the UEFA Champions League, the Red Devils finished bottom of their group to drop out of Europe entirely and an injury crisis has desperately harmed their chances in the race to finish in the top four.

Pivotal first-team squad members like Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw and Rasmus Hojlund are among those to have been sidelined at various points of the season, with their replacements struggling to match their quality when drafted into Ten Hag’s starting XI.

There’s still a chance for Man Utd to qualify for the Champions League this season, but they’ll need to be close to faultless for the remainder of 2023/24.

Here’s what Ten Hag and United need in the final few months to return to Europe’s elite club competition in time for the introduction of a new format.

  • How Man Utd can qualify for the 2024/25 UEFA Champions League

Man Utd made significant moves in the 2023 summer transfer window as Mason Mount, Andre Onana and Rasmus Hojlund arrived at Old Trafford, but a ropy opening weekend win over Wolves hinted at some large issues that were later exposed in defeats to Tottenham, Arsenal and Brighton by mid September.

The Red Devils finally found some form as they strung together five victories from six games from October to November – the only blot being a Manchester derby defeat – but December proved to be another inconsistent month which saw them end 2023 with a defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Thankfully for Ten Hag, January and February would prove to be more positive. Wins arrived against Wolves, West Ham, Aston Villa and Luton Town, but back-to-back defeats to Fulham and Man City saw them fall 11 points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa by early March.

Man Utd’s erratic nature in recent months may well work against them in the final run-in for a Champions League place, but they arguably have a kinder fixture list compared to rivals Villa and Tottenham.

The Red Devils still have matches against struggling sides like Sheffield United, Brentford and Burnley to compete in, though those are countered by high-profile clashes with the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle.

United’s final two games – against title hopefuls Arsenal at Old Trafford and away at Brighton – could see their Champions League extinguished for good, if they haven’t been already.

Date

Time

Fixture

16/03/24

15:00

Man Utd P-P Sheffield Utd

30/03/24

20:00

Brentford vs Man Utd

04/04/24

20:15

Chelsea vs Man Utd

07/04/24

15:30

Man Utd vs Liverpool

14/04/24

16:30

Bournemouth vs Man Utd

20/04/24

15:00

Man Utd vs Newcastle

27/04/24

15:00

Man Utd vs Burnley

04/05/24

15:00

Crystal Palace vs Man Utd

11/05/24

15:00

Man Utd vs Arsenal

19/05/24

16:00

Brighton vs Man Utd

  • 2023/24 Premier League table

Pos

Team

Played

GD

Pts

1.

Arsenal

28

+46

64

2.

Liverpool

28

+39

64

3.

Man City

28

+35

63

4.

Aston Villa

28

+18

55

5.

Tottenham

27

+20

53

6.

Man Utd

28

0

47

  • Will fifth place in the Premier League qualify for the 2024/25 Champions League?

The UEFA Champions League will change format in 2024/25, with the number of competing clubs increasing from 32 to 36.

Four extra spots are up for grabs across Europe, with two handed to the associations with the best UEFA coefficient scores this season.

Teams competing in UEFA competitions earn their respective associations points for their coefficient by getting results in Europe.

  • How UEFA coefficient points are awarded

Points

Awarded for

2

Wins in group stage (UCL, UEL, UECL)

1

Wins in qualifying and play-off matches (UCL, UEL, UECL)

1

Draws in group stage (UCL, UEL, UECL)

0.5

Draws in qualifying and play-off matches (UCL, UEL, UECL)

4

Group stage bonus participation (UCL, UEL)

4

Last 16 bonus participation (UCL)

4

Group winners (UEL)

2

Group runners-up (UEL)

2

Group winners (UECL)

1

Group runners-up (UECL)

1

Each round clubs reach from the round of 16 (UCL, UEL, UECL)

  • Current 2023/24 UEFA coefficient table

England was firmly on course for a top-place in the 2023/24 coefficient up until late February and March, when their teams competing in Europe began to struggle.

Good wins for Bayern Munich and Freiburg have helped Germany’s chances of gaining an extra Champions League spot, but fewer Bundesliga teams remain in Europe compared to Italy and England.

Rank

Nation

2023/24 coefficient

1.

Italy

16.571

2.

Germany

15.500

3.

England

14.625

4.

France

14.416

5.

Spain

13.437

6.

Czechia

13.000

7.

Belgium

12.400

8.

Turkey

11.500

9.

Portugal

10.166

10.

Netherlands

10.000

* Scores correct as of 8 March 2024

  • When did Man Utd last compete in the UEFA Champions League?

Man Utd were involved in the 2023/24 Champions League after finishing third in the Premier League in Ten Hag’s first season in charge.

However, the Red Devils were poor throughout the group stage and ended up crashing out of Europe altogether, finishing behind Bayern Munich, Copenhagen and Galatasaray while conceding 15 goals from their six games.

They have won the Champions League twice – in 1998/99 and 2007/08 – after their maiden European Cup triumph in 1968.


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