Manchester United's Wayne Rooney lifts the trophy after his side won the Europa League final.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney lifts the trophy after his side won the Europa League final. Martin Meissner

What happens now to English teams in Champions League?

WHAT happens now that Manchester United has won the Europa League? That's the question on the lips of fans from Manchester City and Liverpool, who finished in the Premier League top four.

That's because a top-four finish equals a place in the much coveted UEFA Champions League, but United also qualify for the UCL thanks to the win in the Europa League.

United automatically qualify for the UCL group stage, with Liverpool still having to go through the third round of qualifying.

UEFA in 2014 introduced the rule that winners of the Europa League would qualify for next season's Champions League, an incentive for clubs to give their all in a second-tier continental competition. So, Jose Mourinho focused United's attentions on lifting the Europa League to make the Champions League once the top four race looked too far gone.

No country can have more than seven teams across UEFA competitions - so only Arsenal and Everton will contest next season's Europa League.

The rule change was too late for Tottenham, which missed out on the 2013 Champions League after Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the final when only four teams per country could qualify for the UCL. That earned Chelsea entry the following season at Spurs', who finished fourth, expense.

However, it's important to note for fans of other clubs: even though United finished outside the Premier League top four and won the Europa League, that does not impact the clubs who finished in the top four.

That is because UEFA rules state a maximum of five teams per country are allowed to compete in the Champions League.

In the Premier League's case, that would mean the top four EPL finishers plus United.

If United had finished inside the top four and won the Europa League, then England's allocation would remain at four clubs.

For Chelsea, Tottenham, City and Liverpool, who qualified for the UCL through their Premier League standings, the top three automatically reach the group stage while the fourth-placed side has to win a qualifying round to progress through to the group stage.

But Spurs have still been burnt again - although not as badly as by Chelsea - because United's inclusion and European pedigree sees them leap into pot two in the UCL draw (on equations based on recent success in Europe), bumping Mauricio Pochettino's side down to pot three. That opens up the nervous possibility that Wembley could be hosting a Group of Death next season.

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