Sir Alex Ferguson urges Manchester United to win Europa League
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 22/03/17 9:22am
Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United should focus on winning the Europa League due to the "incentive" of qualifying for the Champions League.
Saturday's 3-1 victory at Middlesbrough saw United move up to fifth in the Premier League table, four points behind Liverpool in fourth, while the Red Devils have two games in hand over their Merseyside rivals.
Winning the Europa League would secure qualification for Europe's premier club competition, and Ferguson believes Jose Mourinho's side should aim to claim the trophy.
"The thing is, we've never won the Europa League," Ferguson told ESPN. "We never won the UEFA Cup, what it used to be.
"And we've got a great draw. I'm not saying it's a certainty, but they've got a great chance.
"It's still a European trophy. And if you win it, you get into the Champions League. The incentive is greater to do that."
Ferguson, who was in charge at Old Trafford for 27 years, won two Champions League trophies and a Cup Winners' Cup while at United, but English clubs have failed to win a European title since Chelsea's Europa League win in 2013.
"In the '70s, Ajax and Bayern Munich; '80s, Liverpool; '90s Italy, AC Milan. And then England had a great spell," the 75-year-old Scot added.
"At the moment, the cycle is with the Spanish teams. And they're best, that's why they're winning it."
United play Belgian side Anderlecht away in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on April 13, before hosting Rene Weiler's side at Old Trafford in the return leg a week later.