Ralf Rangnick has admitted that if Manchester United fail to qualify for Europe this could be an advantage for Erik ten Hag in his first season as manager.
United are sixth, five points ahead of Wolves, who have a game in hand and are eighth – almost certainly the highest position United would have to finish in for there to be no continental competition next season.
Rangnick was asked whether there could be any advantage for Ten Hag should this occur.
“It could be an advantage but that does not mean we will give away any of the remaining four games,” the interim manager said. “For us it’s clear and our obligation. This is our job, my job, the job of the players that we try to get the best possible results and then see at the end of the season in which position we will finish.
“Now to speak about if that would be an advantage or not does not make sense because if I did that then this would be interpreted again. For me it’s important we get results, that we play as good as we possibly can, because this will also affect the atmosphere and mood for the new season.”
United host Chelsea on Thursday with six players ruled out and Aaron Wan-Bissaka a doubt.
“Fred is unfortunately not yet available,” Rangnick said. “He tried to train yesterday [on Tuesday] and afterwards I had a conversation with him and with a player like Fred it doesn’t make sense with a muscular injury to play him too early as we would take the risk of reinjury.
"Apart from that Harry Magure is not available; he has some issues with his knee – a niggle. He didn't train yesterday and today. Paul [Pogba] obviously still out, Luke Shaw still, Jadon [Sancho] is ill – he has had tonsillitis since yesterday, couldn't train today, and won't be available tomorrow. Edinson Cavani should be back in training on Friday."
Rangnick said he had 14 senior players available and that three or four younger players would be part of the squad. Hannibal Mejbri, Alejandro Garnacho and Álvaro Fernández are expected to be included.