The stakes appear higher for Manchester United than it is Ajax Amsterdam as both teams clash in Wednesday’s Europa Cup final. Even though the victors are already assured a place in the group stage of next season’s more prestigious Champions League, Manchester United appears to be hard pressed.
Ajax had already picked a ticket from the domestic league while Manchester United’s only path to the Champions League is an outright victory which will also guarantee England a fifth slot.
It won’t be so for Ajax and the Netherlands as victory does not enable the country to get an additional slot. Also, Manchester United will also like the victory as a tribute to the memory of the 22 dead persons and the injured at Manchester’s terror attack of Monday night.
Manchester United also have the ambition to complete their collection of UEFA trophies. Victory on Wednesday will make the club become the fifth after Juventus, Ajax, Bayern Munich and Chelsea — to have won the Champions League, the Europa League and the now defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup.