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Wayne Rooney wants his team-mates to challenge for silverware next season

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney believes that his side can challenge for silverware next season. This season, the debut for manager Louis van Gaal has seen UEFA Champions League football return to the Old Trafford club, albeit at the qualification play-off stage, but the minimum target was met with United guaranteed a fourth place finish this season. On Sunday, a 1-1 draw in the final home match of the season against Arsenal meant that fourth was the highest the club could finish this season, which is a big improvement after last seasons seventh placed finish. Reported by the official Manchester United website, Rooney, who was speaking at the clubs Player of the Year awards ceremony on Tuesday evening, said:

“The main aim was to get back into the Champions League.

“It was very important because one year [out of the competition] was far too much for this club. So that was our main objective, to bring Champions League football back, and we’ve done that.

“Now we want to go and win the last game of the season and then next season we really want to push for silverware. We’re establishing a very good squad who I believe can go on and win silverware next year.”

Rooney also had something to say about the Dutchman, who vacated his position as the Netherlands coach after their third place finish in the FIFA World Cup last summer in Brazil, have a few days of rest and relaxation before assuming responsibility of United, who after only a matter of days left for the United States of America for their pre-season tour. Transfer business was late in the window, meaning the arriving players; Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind and loanee Radamel Falcao, did not have a full pre-season with their new team-mates, with all four arriving after the start of the Barclays Premier League season. Rooney said:

“No, the manager has come in and been excellent.

“It’s a different way of working to what we’re used to and I think the players have embraced that. In the first few months it was different, we found it tough, I think that probably showed in our performances. But since then I think everyone has seen the quality of football that we’ve been playing and I’m sure with the experience the manager has got, we’ll all kick on, we’ll learn a lot and it will benefit us.”

Former Manchester United player and coach Phil Neville has also spoken about the clubs position this season under the Dutchman. Champions League football is obviously a big thing for every supporter, especially being involved in the elite European competition since the very start of the Premier League years. I have missed the participation in Europe this season, and also not seeing United field an U19 side in the UEFA Youth League, which is in its second season, that was also a big miss for me. Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, Neville said:

“It has been a good season – I think going from seventh to winning the league was too much of an ask but getting into the top four was what Louis van Gaal said at the start of the season that he wanted to do and he’s achieved that, so it is Champions League football back for Manchester United.

“I think Man Utd have shown an improvement this year and I think Louis van Gaal will benefit from the experience of playing in the Premier League because it is such an intense league to play in and I’m sure he’s learned a lot about it this year.

“I think they’ll definitely want to win the league next year. They’ve finished in fourth and I think the next progression is to go on and win the league – Manchester United need to be winning trophies.”

Silverware is not one of the reasons I support Manchester United, and that will be the same for the majority of the clubs supporters, but challenging for silverware is on of the reasons people follow football. It is a sport to compete and win things at the highest level of the capabilities fo the team you support. Winning is not a right, but players can earn the right to challenge for the biggest honours in the game. Last season is one I would rather forget. There were many turning points, mostly all negative and that day in April will be celebrated as a man out of his depth was effectively put out of his misery. Ryan Giggs did what he could to restore the faith in the players, and Louis van Gaal has done the rest this season.

At times, it did look as if the season was heading in the same direction, with many saying it will get much worse before it gets better. The main fact of it all though, United supporters kept on supporting the team, singing their hearts out in the terraces home and away, even with they side 3-0 down at Everton, in what would turn into the first time since 2001 that the club had lost three on the bounce in the league. Hardly the darkest ever day in the clubs history, but not one the of the brightest either. This season has had its ups and downs, but next season is where it gets all the more interesting for Louis van Gaal and his squad. Challenging for the Barclays Premier League title is a must, as is a better display in the domestic competitions. More importantly, qualification for the UEFA Champions League group stage is a big must, as it getting out of the group and showing the European might that Manchester United are back.

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