Why finishing second is so important for Manchester United this season?

After an excellent performance against champions Chelsea last weekend, Manchester United reclaimed the second spot from Liverpool after they won on Saturday, but why is not only finishing in the top four but finishing as high as possible so important this season. Liverpool were back to second place in the Premier League after beating Newcastle United with United yet to face Crystal Palace on Monday evening.

Let’s face it, with Manchester City sixteen points ahead of United, and a game in hand the League is probably something out of reach for the Reds this season, but if we can finish second it would show real progress from last season. Although we still qualified for the Champions League this season through our Europa League triumph, last season’s fifth-place finish was far from satisfactory and Jose Mourinho knew that.

Of course, the United boss set out with the aim to reclaim the Premier League this season, just look at the money he spent in the summer on the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic. But the fact that we have pushed last year’s champions Chelsea out of the top four and overtaken a team in Tottenham Hotspur who most thought would challenge for the title again this season, shows how far we have come since last year.

As Gary Neville said in his Sky Sports column; “It still can’t be classed as good enough, they had to win the League this year, but ultimately its progression-but not good enough.” The United boss will undoubtedly agree, as he is a winner and will settle for nothing less, but with the reds still in a rebuilding process, it has been very hard to compete with a City side who have been near enough unstoppable this season.

Not only would a second-place finish signal real progress since last season but it would also mean the reds automatically qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League and therefore means United will be a major force in the transfer market come the summer. There are still many areas that Mourinho will be hoping to improve in the summer, the defence being one of them and guaranteed European football, will attract the very best from around Europe and continue United’s rebuilding process.

A second place finish this season would also signal United’s highest finish since Sir Alex Ferguson left back in 2013, the last time the Reds won the League. It has been tough for the Old Trafford faithful since Ferguson left, with manager’s coming and going and the lack of success, but this season’s finish could just show how near United are to getting back to the top of English football.

Even though United won the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League last season, the fact that they have sustained a consistent level of football to be able to compete for the league again this season, up until recent weeks, signals greater success. The league has always been the pinnacle for every United fan, especially as the club chased Liverpool’s record of 19 League titles, and that hasn’t changed.

Yes, this season’s title may be out of reach but the second-place finish is nothing to play-down, it is a great achievement this season, especially with the level of football we now see in the Premier League. With another good summer of spending, we could very yet see United back at the top come next season, and back to where we belong.

Written by Dan Pearce

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