Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes delivers worrying Europa League verdict

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Bruno Fernandes has suggested that Manchester United are not strong enough to win the Europa League this year, despite the Red Devils standing a good chance of making the last four with victory over an unfancied Granada side in the quarter-finals. United are among the favourites to lift this season’s trophy, a feat that would ease the pain of losing the Premier League title race to runaway leaders and bitter rivals Manchester City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been handed a seemingly favourable draw in their quest for Europa League glory against Spanish outfit Granada, who currently sit ninth in La Liga with 13 defeats from 29 matches.

United performed when it mattered to see off the challenge of AC Milan by a narrow margin in the previous round, a result likely to have injected some much-needed confidence in the squad with plenty of work still to do in order to claim the grand prize.

However, Fernandes has claimed that he is not convinced of his side’s capabilities, warning that supporters may be forced to wait for another year to celebrate their first major trophy win since 2017.

The Portuguese talisman declared to talkSPORT that too many crucial slip-ups have been allowed to occur since the beginning of the campaign, highlighting the need for further improvement if United are to stand any chance of reaching their aim of restoring former glories.

“For us, it is about improving as a team,” he said when quizzed on how his side will look to progress moving forward.

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“Of course we want to win trophies, we want to win everything we are included in. At the moment, we are not at that level this season.

“We have lost a lot of games. We have lost games we don’t expect to lose and have lost a lot of points at home and away our form is really, really different.

“I don’t remember if we have lost one game away in the league. We are improving and this season is not finished and we have a lot to do until the end of the season.

“Until it is not mathematically possible, you have to believe so when I see it is not possible to catch City, I will forget the league.”

Fernandes explained that a club like United should be winning trophies on a consistent basis, expressing disappointment over the fact that they have not been able to maintain their fearsome reputation as of late.

Although a Europa League triumph this season would go a long way to providing the building blocks needed for long-term success once again, the Red Devils playmaker declined to take the view that the achievement would save his side’s season.

He insisted that any positivity from claiming European silverware in the coming months would not overwrite the problems that have plagued United’s Premier League campaign since the turn of the year.

“No, it is never successful when you win just one trophy at this club, in the past they won a lot of trophies,” added Fernandes.

“It is always successful when you win something because it means you have done something good but, at the same time, it doesn’t matter how many trophies you win, you always have to improve.

“It doesn’t matter if this season we won four trophies, we would still need to improve. If this season we win just the Europa League, we still have to improve.

“It doesn’t matter how many trophies we win, we have to improve every season.”

Fernandes is widely expected to feature for United in Thursday’s first-leg meeting with Granada at Los Carmenes, ahead of the return leg at Old Trafford seven days later.

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