22.02.2017 21:51 h

European finish the focus now for St Etienne's Galtier

No sooner had Saint Etienne crashed out of the Europa League to Manchester United on Wednesday than coach Christophe Galtier was plotting their return next season.

With the European dream over after Henrikh Mkhitaryan's goal gave United a 1-0 win on the night and 4-0 aggregate success in the last 32 clash, Galtier wants his team to now focus on holding onto fifth place in Ligue 1.

With Monaco, champions Paris Saint-Germain and Nice well ahead of the rest in the race for the three Champions League qualification berths, St Etienne face a battle with Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux for two Europa League places.

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

"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 winners of the French Cup and League Cup qualify for the Europa League.

But with Monaco and PSG contesting the League Cup final, and both likely to earn Champions League spots, fifth place would be enough to qualify for Europe.

St Etienne currently occupy that position, four points behind Lyon but ahead of Marseille and Bordeaux only on goal difference.