Galtier eyes Europa qualification

Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier responded to his side’s elimination from the Europa League at the hands of Manchester United by turning his attentions to qualification for next season’s competition.

The Ligue 1 side lost 3-0 to United in their round of 32 first-leg tie where Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted a hat-trick, before Henrikh Mkhitaryan's goal in the second leg secured a 4-0 aggregate win.

Saint-Etienne are currently in fifth place on the standings and will need to end in either fourth, fifth or sixth for qualification to the Europa League next season – or higher for a Champions League spot.

After Wednesday's game, Galtier said: "Once they scored a goal we knew it would be mission impossible and they managed to do it quite quickly.

“Now the Europa League is finished — we expected that given the draw.

“I want to pay tribute to our group, they played 12 matches in Europe and lost two — both to Manchester.

“We’ve progressed since last year. It was a great performance but it’s finished.

“If we want to relive extraordinary evenings like tonight, with a full stadium and great atmosphere, we must finish in the top five.

“Our objective must be European qualification. From Sunday against Caen, we have to find the energy, find the determination to maintain the place we currently have because in 12 matches a lot can happen.

“My work will be to ensure our season doesn’t end tonight.”

The fourth place finishers in Ligue 1 and the winners of the French Cup and League Cup automatically qualify for the Europa League.