Europa, Man U's best route to Europe

April 05, 2017
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho leaves the pitch after the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, yesterday. Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored from the penalty spot to take the final score to 1-1.

MANCHESTER, England (AP):

Winning the Europa League is looking increasingly like Manchester United's best chance of getting back in the Champions League for next season.

It's 20 Premier League games without defeat for United after Zlatan Ibrahimovic, back from suspension, converted a stoppage-time penalty to salvage a 1-1 draw against Everton at Old Trafford yesterday.

Ten of those games have been draws, though, and United are still struggling to bridge that gap to the top four, where Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City reside.

"One point or zero points, it's not a huge difference," said a glum-looking Jose Mourinho, United's manager.

United are four points behind fourth-place City with nine games left. Making the job even harder is United's involvement in the Europa League, where the team is through to the quarter-finals and play Anderlecht in the first leg next week.

It means that in April, United have eight games one every three or four days and Mourinho has already suggested he might start prioritising his key players for the Europa League if his side's league performances don't start improving.

With five draws from its last six home games in the league, United are clearly stuttering domestically.

Many of United's recent setbacks have stemmed from its failure to turn possession and clear-cut chances into goals.

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