United missed out on this term’s Champions League, instead progressing into the Europa League, with the Red Devils hosting Club Brugge at Old Trafford in the second leg of their last-32 tie on Thursday.
Following an upturn in form, Solskjaer’s side have risen to fifth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Though fifth place may be enough to ensure qualification for Europe’s elite club competition – depending on Manchester City’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over their two-year suspension from European competition – Solskjaer knows pushing for a top-four finish has to be a priority.
United’s manager acknowledged the club must find a way back into Europe’s top tier if they are to maintain their financial clout.
“We’re a big club and we’ve got good finances but the longer you’re out the more you suffer, so it’s an ambition to get back into the Champions League,” Solskjaer told a news conference.
“For footballing reasons and financially it will help the club. We’ve got to focus on this competition, then the league on Sunday and then FA Cup.
“I think we need to take one game at a time. Both [routes into the Champions League through the Europa League and Premier League] are possible. In a cup competition, you never know. It might be a bad day.
“You can’t rely on winning this. There are some good teams in it and we need to get past Brugge. We’re looking forward to the game.”
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