Race for top 4 | Finito.

Indian Red

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We are on 72 points with one game to go. So even if Liverpool had won all the remaining games (like doomsday predictors feared) in their crazy run, we would still have finished above them with one game to go.
 

BorisManUtd

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Not going to say I wasn't worried myself (particularly after losses at Brighton and West Ham) but all the talk that was going on of "oh we're going to bottle it again" have we really bottled many things over the years? Losing the title in 2012 after having 8 points more than City was perhaps the last time. We didn't crumble in 2015 for top 4 finish (though Spurs and Liverpool as contenders weren't really good) or in 2021 either. Also finished 3rd in 2020 after being so far away and won at Leicester on last day when it mattered the most.

Also in 2017, 2019 and 2022 it wasn't the case of bottling but just giving up - 2017 concentrating on Europa and 2019/2022 just giving up as soon as we got to April.
 

Sanche7

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Great to back in the CL. Happy to have won the league cup but would be amazing if we could win the FA Cup because it could potentially prevent a City treble, would give us a lot of confidence about mounting a proper title challenge next year, will help finish the season on a high and if I'm not wrong will be our first ever domestic cup double. Very happy with the season so far, especially given what happened in the last season, but one last push to make it an amazing season. Let's goooo
 

Dominos

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Not going to say I wasn't worried myself (particularly after losses at Brighton and West Ham) but all the talk that was going on of "oh we're going to bottle it again" have we really bottled many things over the years? Losing the title in 2012 after having 8 points more than City was perhaps the last time. We didn't crumble in 2015 for top 4 finish (though Spurs and Liverpool as contenders weren't really good) or in 2021 either. Also finished 3rd in 2020 after being so far away and won at Leicester on last day when it mattered the most.

Also in 2017, 2019 and 2022 it wasn't the case of bottling but just giving up - 2017 concentrating on Europa and 2019/2022 just giving up as soon as we got to April.
In Ole's interim season we got back into top 4 places with an amazing run and then blew it with De Gea throwing the ball in his own net every week. Though again players downing tools and over-performed during our winning run when in reality we were still shit.

And in Van Gaal's 2nd season we were very close to finishing top 4 but blew it against West Ham away if I remember correctly.
 

Oranges038

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Was talking to a Liverpool fan this morning.

Reckons Europa league isn't that bad and it's going to be nice to win a different trophy next year.
 

BorisManUtd

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In Ole's interim season we got back into top 4 places with an amazing run and then blew it with De Gea throwing the ball in his own net every week. Though again players downing tools and over-performed during our winning run when in reality we were still shit.

And in Van Gaal's 2nd season we were very close to finishing top 4 but blew it against West Ham away if I remember correctly.
Yeah but we weren't in strong position in 18/19 only to bottle it later. It was just the case of new manager bounce and run of easy games ending. Then lost to Arsenal on 10th of March and already were out of top 4 after just one loss, never to get back into top 4. Same goes for 15/16 when we were never in top 4 since December.

I'm more talking about scenarios where we're in strong position for top 4 (14/15, 20/21, this season) only to bottle it in the end. And that thankfully wasn't the case in those situations. 2012 last time we really screwed leading position.
 

Zoo

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Think the Europa League is pretty decent and has the added incentive of CL qualification for the winner. But the worst thing is the Thursday-Sunday fixture grind. Hopefully that impacts Liverpool greatly next season.
 

Kaos

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Cannot stress how much I hate the Europa League. The long journeys, the awkward fixture congestion, the fact we're seemingly always drawn again game-rasing, shite housing Spanish cheats, compounded by terrible refs who fall for their antics. So glad were being spared the displeasure at the expense of the Scouse.
 

Siorac

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Cannot stress how much I hate the Europa League. The long journeys
I always wondered where does this come from? Most of our journeys this season were to fecking Spain which isn't particularly far away from the UK. You can (and we have in the past) face Cypriot teams, for example, in the Champions League, too. Not to mention... Europe really isn't that big. Even Istanbul or St. Petersburg is only about a four-hour flight which isn't that much.
 

Frosty

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Yes I can hear you Clem Fandango!
I always wondered where does this come from? Most of our journeys this season were to fecking Spain which isn't particularly far away from the UK. You can (and we have in the past) face Cypriot teams, for example, in the Champions League, too. Not to mention... Europe really isn't that big. Even Istanbul or St. Petersburg is only about a four-hour flight which isn't that much.
The Europa League we won under Jose was a far, far kinder competition than the one we were in this year. UEFA's redesign of the competition really made it a far sterner test.
 

BorisManUtd

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Top 4 secured in style in the end with 4 wins in a row. Well done to the players. One game a week period between West Ham, Wolves and Bournemouth games surely helped as well. Wonder how we'd have performed in league if we beat Sevilla and went to Europa semis.
 

InfiniteBoredom

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68 in the end was enough for top 4. Just as predicted.

Granted, a lot of it was down to us putting it to bed mathematically in the previous matchday, but Liverpool also got disgusting luck with decisions in their winning run, so that evened out. Fact of the matter is we were never in any real danger with our fixtures list but that didn’t stop the doomsday preachers from panicking.
 

erikcred

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I always wondered where does this come from? Most of our journeys this season were to fecking Spain which isn't particularly far away from the UK. You can (and we have in the past) face Cypriot teams, for example, in the Champions League, too. Not to mention... Europe really isn't that big. Even Istanbul or St. Petersburg is only about a four-hour flight which isn't that much.
I don't get really get it either. I'm guessing it's got to do with players' recovery times, but also not sure why there would be such a big difference between traveling to Spain vs Russia.
 

Lentwood

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I always wondered where does this come from? Most of our journeys this season were to fecking Spain which isn't particularly far away from the UK. You can (and we have in the past) face Cypriot teams, for example, in the Champions League, too. Not to mention... Europe really isn't that big. Even Istanbul or St. Petersburg is only about a four-hour flight which isn't that much.
The long journeys line is rubbish but the impact European football has on a clubs ability to plan and prepare for weekend PL matches is real.

Even if you take the physical fatigue of playing an extra game and the mental fatigue of the late-night games, the travelling and the lack of sleep out of it, only having effectively one training session before facing a PL game is huge.

Imagine you play in Spain on Thursday. I bet the players don't sleep until 3/4am. That means Friday is a write-off, basically sleep and recover. Can't really do a full session Saturday because the lads are still recovering but you have to get them all together to talk tactics. Then Sunday is match day.

Its kind of ridiculous really. I'm still of the opinion we should have been playing shadow teams in the group stages at least for the last decade. All those games, all that disruption, one trophy to show for it...and whilst it's fun to win it, it is by definition, a 2nd tier trophy.