Shearer Says: “Champions League football will help Man Utd’s recruitment process”
Premier League legend and Coral Ambassador Alan Shearer looks at Man Utd’s season and previews Saturday’s FA Cup Final
It didn’t matter how Manchester United played last night, it was all about getting their hands on the trophy and I think you could see from the reaction from Jose Mourinho at the end, it was a relief of emotion and stress. In recent weeks he has been under a lot of pressure, but he has delivered. From the very first minute until the last, I thought United were the better team. He set them up magnificently and Ajax had no answers.
Overall, it has now been a very successful season for United. They have now won the League Cup, Europa League and importantly have qualified back into the Champions League so even if it hasn’t been done with any great style, you can’t argue with that outcome, it sets them up nicely for next season. That is why so much hinged on the game against Ajax, because without that Champions League football and the Europa League trophy, their season would have been a failure.
I know they are Manchester United and they can attract big name players anyway, however, the fact they can offer Champions League football next season now will help their recruitment process. They have already been linked with Antoine Griezmann, so it is going to make for an interesting summer. All the big clubs will spend a fortune and they will probably be after the same players. United will definitely need another forward and defender as those are the two areas they are clearly short in. If De Gea leaves he will have a big decision to make about who is number one ‘keeper is. He will have to decide if Romero will step into De Gea’s shoes or if he needs to go out and bring a replacement in.
It is too early to assess if Manchester United are going to be in contention for the title next season. A lot will depend on who they bring in. There is no doubt they need to sign players though, because right now they don’t have enough to challenge.
FA Cup Final
I am really looking forward to the FA Cup final this weekend. Chelsea have had an excellent season, they won the league with ease. Arsenal go into the game on a good run of form themselves, albeit their confidence will be dented for not making it into the top four for the first time in Wenger’s reign. I’d have to worry about Arsenal at the back as they have key players out injured. They might even be without their best player Alexis Sanchez who picked up a hamstring injury last weekend.
Chelsea are the favourites to win the game and rightly so. Their players have had a little bit of a rest, so they should be pretty fresh. I really fancy Chelsea in this one. Their desire to go on to win the double will be huge and I think they will have too much for Arsenal.
I played in two FA Cup finals for Newcastle and lost them both. The first was against Arsenal who won the double that year and the second was against Manchester United the year they won the treble.
The FA Cup has got a bit of magic back. It seemed to lose a bit of that a few years ago. I remember as a kid, I used to get up early on every FA Cup final day. We’d watch all the build-up in the morning and then the game itself, so for me to get there as a player was a great experience. However, believe me, Wembley is only a place for winners. It is not a nice place to be if you lose there.