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Jamie Carragher believes ten Hag’s Manchester United MUST qualify for next seasons’ Champions League

Jamie Carragher believes Manchester United have a long road ahead but they MUST qualify for next season’s Champions League… and primary target Frenkie de Jong ‘would make a huge difference for them’

  • Jamie Carragher claims Erik ten Hag must qualify for the Champions League 
  • Manchester United failed to lift a trophy for the fifth successive season in 2022
  • Carragher described United’s primary target Frenkie de Jong as ‘top class’ 

Jamie Carragher claims that Erik ten Hag must take Manchester United back to the Champions League next season, although that will not be a straightforward task. 

After a fifth successive trophyless season, United find themselves competing in the Europa League next season – something Carragher admits ‘doesn’t feel right’.

In addition to the financial and commercial implications of competing in club football’s premier tournament, United look set to lose legendary forward Cristiano Ronaldo as a result, adding insult to injury.  

Jamie Carragher believes it is imperative Manchester United return to the Champions League

The SkySports pundit said: ‘I think there’s a long road for United that they’re on at the moment in terms of challenging for the title.

‘I think the first thing when it comes to Ten Hag and the players they’re bringing in will be, ‘we need to get this club back in the Champions League where it belongs’. That’s where Manchester United should be.

‘But it won’t be easy to get back in the top four this season – not just for United but for any team who are normally in the top four.

‘You’d expect [Manchester] City and Liverpool to do it because they’re always going for the title, but you look at how strong Chelsea will be and the signings they’re bringing in, Tottenham’s work as well, Arsenal also.’

Erik ten Hag will have to work hard to get the club back into club football's premier tournament

Erik ten Hag will have to work hard to get the club back into club football’s premier tournament

Carragher was also effusive in his praise of United’s primary target Frenkie de Jong, who has been the subject of long-term interest from the Premier League side but seemingly to no avail. 

The Dutch midfielder is said to hold real concerns over how United function, with the player’s view said to be that it is run ‘erratically’ by management.

Since ten Hag’s arrival at Old Trafford, a number of midfielders have departed the club, notably Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba, and the club are hoping de Jong can strengthen the side in that regard. 

Frenkie de Jong would make a huge difference for United but is said to be cautious of a move

Frenkie de Jong would make a huge difference for United but is said to be cautious of a move

The former Liverpool defender told SkySports News: ‘It’ll be interesting if they get De Jong. I do think he’s a top-class player and I think he would make a huge difference for them.

‘I am not satisfied. I think they have to bring more but it will not come overnight. It takes time, it’s a process.

‘The demand is they have to get more fit than they are now. But we are building it. It’s also the responsibility of the players themselves to be fit.

‘They’ve responded really well but I know we are in the start of a process and it takes time. We need the full pre-season, minimum, but I know also at the start of the season we will not be ready. But I know also at the start we will need results.’

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