London (AFP) – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the longer Manchester United are out of the Champions League, the more they will suffer after the club announced disappointing financial figures.
United are preparing to take on Club Brugge in the Europa League round of 32 on Thursday after a 1-1 draw away from home in the first leg.
The competition may give the club their best route back to the Champions League, given they are locked in a tough battle to qualify through the Premier League.
Failure to make it into Europe’s top club competition for a second successive year would make it harder for United to attract elite-level reinforcements.
United recorded revenues of £627.1 million ($811 million) last year but the club expects to earn between £560 million and £580 million in 2020.
Second-quarter figures released on Tuesday showed broadcasting revenue had fallen sharply due to United’s absence from the Champions League.
“We’re a big club, we’ve got good finances,” Solskjaer said at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“But of course the longer you’re out the more you suffer, so of course it’s an ambition for us to get back into the Champions League, both for the footballing reasons and financially that will help the club.
“We’ve just got to focus on the next game, this competition now, then it’s the league on Sunday, then it’s the FA Cup on Thursday, then it’s the league again and hopefully more European games.”
The Norwegian boss said Bruno Fernandes’ arrival last month has boosted the club, who have climbed to fifth in the Premier League.
Fernandes scored his first United goal in a 3-0 win over Watford on Sunday and was also pivotal in an impressive 2-0 victory at Chelsea last week.
“We feel we’ve added some X-factor quality with Bruno, definitely,” Solskjaer said. “The addition of Bruno gives us that little bit of a different flavour.
“He’s a player who likes to play penetrative passes, forward passes, likes to take risks, which a Man United player should do.
“His imagination or his overview and his picture is a couple of seconds ahead of many players and that’s one of strengths, knowing what he wants to do next time he gets it.”
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