Manchester United are the biggest club in England and are European heavyweights, but they are not involved in the Champions League this season.
In fact, the Red Devils are not even in the Europa League. Last season’s seventh-place finish in the Premier League under the now-departed David Moyes meant that there will be no European competition for the 20-time English champions in 2014-15.
Although it is ‘strange’ not to be involved in the Champions League, it could play into United’s advantage this season, according to club legend Sir Bobby Charlton.
‘It seems strange that Manchester United is not involved in European football for a season’, the club’s official website quotes the 76-year-old as saying. ‘It’s crazy, but maybe it can make things easier for us.
‘We have started with some new players, we have not been playing well but we will play well. I think that it’s going to be a great adventure of how we pull ourselves back around and get back to the way it used to be’.
United are indeed set for a ‘great adventure’ under new manager Louis van Gaal, and perhaps lack of European football will do them good.
Last season Liverpool did not have any European commitment and they finished second in the Premier League, just two points behind champions Manchester City.
Reds manager Brendan Rodgers had his players fully focused on their league campaign, and Van Gaal will be able to do the same with his United squad this term.
Had United been playing in the Europa League this campaign, they would have been under pressure to at least reach the latter stages of the competition.
The Red Devils may not have taken it seriously, but a defeat in the early rounds would have made the headlines for the wrong reasons.