Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United should focus on winning the Europa League due to the "incentive" of qualifying for the Champions League.

Saturday's 3-1 victory at Middlesbrough saw United move up to fifth in the Premier League table, four points behind Liverpool in fourth, while the Red Devils have two games in hand over their Merseyside rivals.

Winning the Europa League would secure qualification for Europe's premier club competition, and Ferguson believes Jose Mourinho's side should aim to claim the trophy.

"The thing is, we've never won the Europa League," Ferguson told ESPN. "We never won the UEFA Cup, what it used to be.

"And we've got a great draw. I'm not saying it's a certainty, but they've got a great chance.

"It's still a European trophy. And if you win it, you get into the Champions League. The incentive is greater to do that."