Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has branded the club’s return to the Champions League as a “wonderful achievement”.
The Red Devils finished third in the Premier League, albeit a distant 33 points from champions Liverpool, thanks to a 2-0 victory over Leicester on Sunday.
Defeat would have left the Old Trafford side sweating on the outcome of Chelsea’s match with Wolves - a fixture they also won 2-0 – but late goals from Bruno Fernandes, who scored United’s record 14th Premier League penalty of the season, and Jesse Lingard ensured they completed the feat under their own steam.
It means that United will be back amongst Europe’s big guns after a one-year hiatus and Solskjaer sung the praises of his squad for making it happen.
“It’s a wonderful achievement by everyone. Today wasn’t a classic but that doesn’t matter, but we need to learn to win these games that we need a result in,” he told Sky Sports after the victory at the King Power Stadium.
“It’s been like a mini-tournament since the restart and you can see it. We’ve been a bit tired, leggy.
“I think the boys have completed a great achievement. You know where we were earlier in the season, so to end up third is a fantastic achievement.
“Champions League qualification means better opposition next year and big games. That’s what these players need.”
Centre-back Harry Maguire, who became the first United outfield player to feature in every minute of a league campaign since Garry Pallister in 1994-95, was more circumspect as he added: “Finishing third in the Premier League should be a minimum requirement for this club.
“As a club, we expect to be in the Champions League. The majority of people didn't expect us to be in the top four at the start of the season," the England defender explained.
Meanwhile, Solskjaer has been tight lipped on his future plans in the transfer market, despite links to the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho as well as a defensive partner for Harry Maguire.
“The club knows what I feel we need, but that’s up to them to go and sort it out,” he said.