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Europa League Qualification Will Motivate Manchester United, Says Ralf Rangnick

Ralf Rangnick believes his Manchester United players will be motivated to beat Crystal Palace by the prize of Europa League qualification.

United will start the final day in sixth place on 58 points, two points ahead of West Ham in seventh.

But West Ham have a superior goal difference. Therefore, United must win at Palace or risk leaving the door wide open for the Hammers to move above them by beating Brighton in their final fixture.

The difference between sixth and seventh is around £2.2 million in Premier League prize money.

But it will also decide which European competition United and West Ham enter next season.

Sixth place will secure a place in the Europa League, while seventh will result in Europa Conference League soccer.

Ralf Rangnick pictured in the Old Trafford dugout during Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Southampton in February 2022

Ralf Rangnick pictured in the Old Trafford dugout in February

Being in the Europa League is much more lucrative, but it also provides teams with an extra route into the Champions League.

The team who wins the Europa League is guaranteed a place in the following season's UCL group stage.

For example, Eintracht Frankfurt finished 11th in Germany's Bundesliga this year, but will have a seat at Europe's top table next season after beating Rangers in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

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"I'm still positive we will have a strong starting eleven and we will finish on a strong note," Rangnick told BBC Sport on Friday.

"I'm positive the players want to get things right and positive they would much rather play Europa League than Conference League.

"You saw with Frankfurt, who finished in the bottom half of Bundesliga but are now in the Champions League."

Interim manager Rangnick will be in charge of United team selection on Sunday for the final team.

He is being replaced by former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag this summer.

Ten Hag will be at Selhurst Park to watch United on Sunday, but he will not interfere with Rangnick's decisions or instructions to the players.

Rangnick will continue to be employed by United in a part-time advisory position beyond this summer.

He will also start work as the new manager of the Austrian national team in the coming days.

On Ten Hag, Rangnick added: "We have been in contact on WhatsApp.

"Hopefully we will have the chance to speak and meet in person at the weekend, or Monday at the latest.

"I am looking forward to speaking to him in person and getting to know him."