May: Europa League no good for Man Utd
Published 11/04/2014 | 15:37
Former Manchester United defender David May feels the club will be better off next season if they do not qualify for the Europa League.
United were eliminated from the Champions League on Wednesday and are set to miss out on a route into next term's competition, with them heading for a Barclays Premier League finish outside of the top four.
They are seventh with five games left and securing a spot in the Europa League is the only realistic-looking way they will secure continental football for 2014/15.
That tournament has plenty of detractors, though, and May - pointing to the example of current Premier League leaders Liverpool, who have not played in Europe during this campaign - is in no doubt that United's chances of rebuilding will be improved if they are without that commitment.
Asked about the prospect of the Red Devils participating in the Europa League next season, May told Press Association Sport: "Personally, I wouldn't take it if it were offered to me.
"I think United need to concentrate next season on doing well in the Premier League.
"You look at Liverpool - they could go on and win the Premier League this year, and they will only have played 43 games. They missed out on playing on Thursday nights, and I think it has benefited them.
"If it gives United that extra edge just going in the three domestic competitions then I think it would be best for them to do that.
"Playing in the Europa League is not the be all and end all. It is all about playing in the Champions League and returning to that has to be United's aim next season."
Since the Premier League started in 1992, there has never been a season when United have not competed in Europe.
But May, who was a Red Devils player when the club won the 1999 European Cup final, is comfortable with the idea of that being broken if it helps the club ensure it is only a one-year hiatus from the Champions League.
The 43-year-old, speaking in Manchester in his position as an ambassador for the StreetGames Football Pools Fives, added: "Playing Thursdays and then Sundays doesn't give you a chance really to build any momentum in the Premier League.
"In terms of missing out on Europe for one season, there will be a little bit of a financial loss with that, but I would be happy to stick to the three domestic trophies next term."
The questioning of United boss David Moyes' suitability for the role has only increased over the course of a hugely disappointing campaign following his appointment as successor to Sir Alex Ferguson last summer.
And the Red Devils, beaten six times at home in the league this term, look set for a major overhaul ahead of next season.
But May does not think that should include a change of manager.
Asked if he felt Moyes has to go this summer, May said: "I don't think so.
"We have had injuries and people have got a year older in the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra.
"It is time to bring some young, fresh players in and I'm sure in the summer the manager will do that.
"Playing away, I think United have done really well, but the games they have lost at Old Trafford have been really disappointing.
"You don't like getting beaten at all, especially on your own pitch, but when you get done 3-0 by (Manchester) City and 3-0 by Liverpool, that is tough to take.
"What is even worse is losing home games against the likes of Newcastle, Everton and West Brom - games you would expect to win.
"David Moyes is breaking records for all the wrong reasons. It has been a tough season at home.
"But our away form has been fantastic and if things can be turned around so that Old Trafford is a fortress again, then hopefully we can start seeing improvement."