United are currently in ninth place in the Premier League and would need to finish fourth to win a place in the lucrative Champions League or fifth for the consolation prize of the Europa League.
The financial implications of failing to make it into Europe are serious, especially as the club budgets on reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
United stand to miss out on:
-£35m in prize money, bonuses and TV market pool share from UEFA for the Champions League.
-£10m in match-day earnings - based on having four fewer home games.
-£5m - merit money from the Premier League would be around £10m compared to the £15.1m earned from winning the title last season.
Qualifying for the Europa League would soften the blow slightly, with around £3m coming from UEFA and match-day income retained, meaning an overall £32m drop.
Failing to qualify for Europe would punch a big hole in United's earnings, despite the club's great success in growing their commercial revenue from sponsorship deals.
Annual income for 2013-14 is expected to be around £420m, so missing out on Europe would see a 20 per cent drop in revenue.
It would also mean less money for the manager to spend on transfers and make it more difficult to attract top-paying sponsors, and some already have clauses where they pay less if United are not in the Champions League.
There is also the perennial issue of the club's debt, which stood at £361m last month.
United have, however, moved to reduce the cost of servicing that debt and it has dropped considerably, by 21 per cent, to £9.8m for the most recent three-month period primarily due to refinancing to achieve a much lower interest.