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Ed Woodward to face grilling over fear of Manchester United missing top four

Ed Woodward is likely to be questioned about the financial impact of Manchester United failing to qualify for the Champions League. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty ImagesEd Woodward is likely to be questioned about the financial impact of Manchester United failing to qualify for the Champions League. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Ed Woodward could face a grilling from investors about the financial impact onManchester United should the club fail to qualify for the Champions League when the executive vice-chairman holds a conference call on Thursday to discuss the latest accounts.

Louis van Gaal’s team are fifth and slipped to six points behind Manchester City, who are in the final Champions League berth, after Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea. On Monday morning the club’s share price dropped to its lowest since December 2012, a £9.61 valuation which was down from £10.05, before it rose again later in the day.

United’s first-quarter earnings of 2016 are to be announced on Thursday. When discussing the year’s opening-quarter figures in February 2014 Woodward was forced into denying to investors that the club would be financially damaged if David Moyes failed to guide the side to Champions League qualification.

Then, United were in seventh, 11 points behind Liverpool in fourth position, having played 26 matches, one more than currently. United finished that season in seventh place.

The club views a top-four finish in the Premier League as being more important than success in the Champions League. From next season a high league finish will be even more of a priority, as each club that finishes fourth or better will earn £140m-plus.

Michael Carrick hinted that the draw at Chelsea has made winning the title unrealistic, as United are now 12 points behind the leaders, Leicester City. “I think it was a big day for us in terms of the league situation. If we’d have gone there and got a win we’d have been in good shape, but it wasn’t to be and it makes things harder for us.

“We have to battle on though, keep going and play something like we have been doing over the last few weeks and then see where that takes us,” he told manutd.com, before insisting the side should still aim for as high a finish as possible. ”There is plenty to play for this month and of course plenty of points to play for in the league. We’re not giving anything up just yet.” – theguardian –

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