April 12, 2017 / 6:20 AM / 8 months ago

Every Europa League game a 'final' for Man United - Shaw

(Reuters) - Manchester United have set their sights on winning the Europa League as an alternative route into next year’s Champions League, defender Luke Shaw has said ahead of the first leg of their quarter-final against Anderlecht on Thursday.

Britain Football Soccer - Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League - Stadium of Light - 9/4/17 Manchester United's Luke Shaw arrives before the match Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith Livepic

United are fifth in the Premier League, four points behind Manchester City, who occupy the final qualifying spot for next season’s Champions League.

The Europa League winners, however, also qualify for the Champions League.

”Every single game is massive now, but I think the one on Thursday is huge,“ Show told British media. ”We have to treat every game in that competition now like it’s a final. We want to win that tournament.

“The Europa League is a massive thing for us now -- it’s a trophy and it gives us qualification for the Champions League. With the players we have got, we can be unstoppable.”

Fullback Antonio Valencia is expected to return against Anderlecht after missing United’s last two league fixtures while goalkeeper David de Gea is a doubt with a hip injury.

United’s Europa League matches are sandwiched around a clash with Premier League leaders Chelsea on Sunday.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru

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