Marouane Fellaini admits missing out on Champions League qualification would be unacceptable for Manchester United.
The pressure is cranking up on Louis van Gaal as a difficult campaign edges towards completion, with the Dutchman’s side lagging four points behind in the race for a top-four finish.
The under-fire United boss accepts their Champions League hopes could all but be extinguished if they lose Sunday’s do-or-die derby at fourth-placed Manchester City.
Thursday’s Europa League exit to Liverpool means the Premier League is their only remaining route to the continent’s top table – a finish Fellaini believes is the bare minimum.
“We have to do it because a team like Man United have to be in the Champions League next season,” he told the BBC. “We will fight to the end to be there.
“The derby is a great sensation, (a great) atmosphere.
“All the city will watch the game – the challenge, goals, everything – because it will be a big game, so everyone likes to watch a game like that.”
United supporters will not hold back if their side falter at the Etihad Stadium, if this campaign is anything to go by.
Van Gaal is not the only target of their ire as for some Fellaini is symbolic of the club’s decline in recent years, with his substitution in last weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final against West Ham cheered by pockets of supporters at Old Trafford.
“I think the players are used to it,” he said of the criticism. “I don’t read, I don’t listen. I am just focusing on my job.
“Okay, sometimes it is hard for my family, but the rest I don’t look at it.”