Manchester United’s disappointing performance in the Champions League this season has heaped pressure on manager Erik ten Hag.
United’s hope of qualifying for the knockout phase look all but over after losing three of their opening four group games.
Ten Hag’s men need maximum points from their final two fixtures to pull off the miracle and secure a passage through the next round.
As reported by The Times, it’s not just Ten Hag that is hoping is troops can defy the odds, with the Premier League also in need of an upturn in European performance from United.
The Champions League is expanding from 32 to 36 teams next season and the Premier League were in line to be granted an extra team in next year’s competition.
UEFA coefficients will determine which countries secure the extra spots but English teams’ performance in the Champions League has been below standard so far.
United aren’t the only side putting the extra spot at risk with Newcastle United also rock bottom of their group.
However, Newcastle, like United, still harbour hopes of qualifying and are desperate to finish in the top two of an open group which features Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund.
Should both clubs fail to qualify it’s likely the extra places will be dished out to other top leagues on the continent.
Turkey, Belgium, Germany and Italy are all currently earning more coefficient points than England — with Spain very close behind.
The Premier League could end up needing Manchester City to regain their crown and also see Arsenal go deep into the tournament to gain the extra place.
Should United and Newcastle somehow get out of their respective groups, it’s likely the Premier League will win one of the spots and this in turn will mean that fifth place this season would be enough to secure a place in next year’s bumper competition.
United’s trip to Turkey will determine whether they stay alive in the Champions League with the crunch game taking place next Wednesday (29th).