The Red Devils were a whopping 11 points behind Chelsea when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed interim boss.
Their incredible resurgence has seen them pick up 25 points from a possible 27.
A 3-0 victory away at Fulham on Sunday saw them leapfrog Chelsea into fourth with Maurizio Sarri's side humbled 6-0 at Manchester City.
It has been a long time coming with United fans having to wait 25 matches to occupy a Champions League spot.
It has been so rare this season that Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Watford have all spent more days in the top four.
The Hornets' terrific form at the start of the campaign saw them sit in fourth spot until their sixth game of the season.
Title-chasers Liverpool have spent 182 days inside the top four followed by Chelsea with 179.
Solskjaer will now turn his attentions to ensuring United remain in contention to qualify for the Champions League.
The Norwegian boss faces arguably his toughest test yet when United host Liverpool in their next league outing.
And next month they face back-to-back contests away at Arsenal before hosting Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.
SunSport exclusively revealed how Solskjaer will be named the United boss on a permanent contract.
It is understood the decision has been made at board level, although the club may not announce it until the end of the season.
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