Now that I've had time to calm down and reflect on last night's game and our overall performance in the Champions League this season, I started wondering just what we've gotten ourselves into by finishing in a Europa League spot. Below are some facts and figures about Manchester United and the Europa League or UEFA Cup as it was previously known.
The last time we played in the Europa League/UEFA Cup was in September 1996 when we lost 2-2 on away goals in the first round to Russian side Rotor Volgograd. The tie is probably best remembered for Peter Schmeichel's only goal for United which came in the 89th minute at Old Trafford in the 2nd leg.
We've played 31 games in total, won 12, drawn 13 and lost 6. The furthest we've been was the semi-final stage back in 1964-65 when the competition was known as the Inter-Cities' Fairs Cup where we lost 2-1 to Hungarian side Ferencvarosi in a play-off game after the tie finished 3-3 after the 2nd leg.
The teams that are definitely involved in the round of 32 stage of this season's Europa League are:
Manchester United, Manchester City, Olympiacos, Valencia, Porto, Ajax, Trabzonspor, Viktoria Plzen, Standard Liege, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Athletic Bilbao, Metalist Kharkiv, Schalke 04, FC Twente, Hannover 96, Legia Warsaw, PAOK Salonika, Stoke City, Braga, Atletico Madrid, Anderlecht, and Lokomotiv Moscow.
The teams that could still qualify on Matchday 6 are:
Rubin Kazan/Tottenham, FC Vaslui/Lazio, Besiktas/Dynamo Kiev, Red Bull Salzburg/PSG, AZ Alkmaar/Austria Vienna, Club Brugge/Birmingham, Udinese/Celtic, Maccabi Haifa/Steaua Bucharest/AEK Larnaca and Fulham/Wisla Krakow.
We will be seeded in next Friday's draw and our potential round of 32 stage opponents could be anyone of:
Porto, Ajax, Trabzonspor, Viktoria Plzen, Hannover 96, Legia Warsaw, PAOK Salonika/Rubin Kazan, FC Vaslui/Lazio, Besiktas/Dynamo Kiev, Red Bull Salzburg/PSG, AZ Alkmaar/Austria Vienna, Braga/Club Brugge, Atletico Madrid/Udinese/Celtic, Maccabi Haifa/Steaua Bucharest/AEK Larnaca, Wisla Krakow or Anderlecht/Lokomotiv Moscow.
As a result of being seeded, we will play our 2nd leg at Old Trafford which will be on Thursday 23rd February.
The Final of the Europa League will be held at the Stadionul National in Bucharest, a stadium we've already visited once before this season when we played Otelul Galati.
You forgo to mention that all games will be on a Thursday and the times may vary
haha, when I read the title "All you need to know about the Europa league" I half expected to click onto a blank page! Well researched anyway, it must have been painful having to look into that.
That would've been quite funny actually.
If we get a decent draw in the competiton at some point, I might even go to one of the games just to say that I've seen United in the Europa League.
I can't go to Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday games because of work commitments so Thursday night, Sunday or Monday games which we may have more of now than we would've done are the only days I can get over on.
As I said, you could be kicking off at 5pm one week and 8pm another. Fair play to you for researching it and taking the competition seriously though.
Thursdays suit me better too tbh...
To be fair theres alot of very good teams in this competition,probaly wishing they werent in it too haha.