Manchester United face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Final, but Rio Ferdinand believes victory would not be enough to mask over what has been a disappointing campaign for the Red Devils.
The former England defender thinks that even if United win their first piece of silverware since the 2012/13 season, it won't be enough to hide the fact they failed to qualify for the Champions League next season.
He said via The Sun: “Beating Palace will add a bit of gloss to the end of the season but you still can’t get away from the fact they haven’t qualified for the Champions League. It’s as simple as that.
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“The FA Cup might be a trophy but the Champions League is the Holy Grail now. It is sad to say but it outweighs winning at Wembley. The Champions League is such a big tournament in terms of financial gain and exposure. You have to be in there. Manchester United not being in it does not seem right. And covering the tournament and talking about it next season will seem a bit strange without them in it.
“When I was at United we would say we had to win a trophy. Now they could achieve that this season by lifting the FA Cup but they are going to do it without qualifying for the Champions League. We always qualified for the Champions League. We never even contemplated winning a trophy without finishing in the top four."
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He continued: “Not once did we even speak about trying to finish in the top four — that was a given. Nowadays when you ask anybody at United what their aim for the season is, they will say it is to qualify for the Champions League. That tells you the shift we have seen at the club in the last three or four years. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left, things haven’t really gone the way United were used to."
He went on to claim that if you don't finish in the top four or qualify for a trophy then it hasn't been a good season at all. With many United fans likely to agree with what one of their legends has said, it only adds further speculation that Van Gaal's time at the club could be coming to an end soon.
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