Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Sport | By Ellis Neal

Jose Mourinho would prefer Europa League glory to top-four finish

Jose Mourinho would prefer Europa League glory to top-four finish

And having publicly backed Claudio Ranieri after the Italian was recently sacked by Leicester City following claims that player had influenced the Foxes owner's decision, Mourinho was asked if he felt that player power had anything to with Karanka's dismissal.

The global break means United will not be in action again until hosting West Brom on April 1 - a match Mourinho's side will head into with renewed belief.

Jose Mourinho had said his team would "probably lose" because their current fixture congestion would lead to fatigue, but despite missing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney and Ander Herrera, they counter-attacked well. I tried to protect the central defenders in the last part of the game. "I replied that in the first 25 minutes I see only this type of situation and it's impossible to play football".

"I think the squad that he has picked this time is a very young squad, a lot of players from the under-21s".

But with at least a game in hand over every other top four side, they have returned to chasing Champions League qualification via league position - something which appeared out of the question just a few weeks ago. Either way, it's been a while. I prefer to win the Europa League because it gives us the same - Champions League football - but it also gives us a trophy, prestige, a European Super Cup [final against the Champions League's winners next August]. And who knows, someday, I would like to play at it, yes. But maybe we don't win the Europa League, so we have to fight until we can to try to finish fourth.

The visitors then doubled the advantage in the 62nd minute when Lingard, who was included in Gareth Southgate's recent England squad, smashed an effort from the edge of the box into the top-right corner. Lingard limped off with an ankle injury late on, but Mourinho professed his optimism that he would be fit to report for England duty this week.

Substitute Rudy Gestede did give the hosts hope with a goal in the 78th minute.

With the Manchester derby scheduled to take place on 27th April, City's trip to Teeside to face relegation strugglers Middlesbrough has also been moved from it's original date.

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