Old Manchester United favourite Gary Pallister has claimed that the successes of José Mourinho’s side in his first season will have invoked jealousy in their rivals.
The Red Devils won the lesser prize of the Community Shield back in August before going on to secure the EFL Cup and Europa League titles, the latter crown also sealing qualification for next season’s Champions League group stages.
Pallister shrugs off sixth
The only caveat to their many triumphs, however, was their sixth place finish in the Premier League. It meant United’s place in the Champions League rode on the Europa League final against Ajax while local rivals Manchester City and Liverpool, as well as Tottenham Hotspur, qualified via the top four but without any silverware.
Despite that, though, Pallister was pretty jovial as he looked back on Mourinho’s first term in charge at Old Trafford. The 51-year-old told the club’s official website that the final win “stopped a lot of these doubters” who suggested the club had endured a poor season because of their league finishing position.
Acknowledging that the Red Devils “didn't qualify for the Champions League through our Premier League position”, the former centre-back argued “we qualified by winning a European trophy and we also won the League Cup”, and therefore “quite a few teams will be jealous of Manchester United's season.”
Pallister felt the return to European football’s top tier continental competition was particularly important, describing it as a “massive plus” and a goal that was “the carrot for everybody at the end of the season.”
Positive for players, fans and finances
As a former player at the Theatre of Dreams and now a club ambassador, Pallister saw the benefits of playing in the Champions League again from multiple perspectives.
The final victory in Stockholm, which Pallister said was done “in great style”, led to the European return which the one-time Middlesbrough man claimed “means so much to the club.”
Although United were at risk of having their sponsorship from Adidas reduced if they failed to qualify for the competition for a second consecutive season, Pallister said the benefit of returning was not just financial but also “for the fans and players who want to be involved in the biggest competition in the world.”