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

Manchester United

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.

Man Utd need a bid end to the season to return to the Champions League / Michael Regan/GettyImages

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 exited the 2023/24 Champions League with a whimper / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

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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