Jose Mourinho has conceded that Manchester United’s major four hopes are effectively over after losing 2-0 to Arsenal, using the Portuguese manager now going all out to win the Europa League.
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United have struggled to break into the Champions League qualification locations all season, spending a lot of the campaign in fifth or sixth spot inside the Premier League, and Sunday’s loss leaves them in a hard position.
Fourth-placed Manchester City are four points ahead with three matches to go, although Arsenal are now just two points behind in sixth and have a game in hand on the Red Devils.
Granit Xhaka and Danny Welbeck did the damage in north London on Sunday and Mourinho has accepted United’s hopes of a return to UEFA’s elite competition through a league position are more than.
Instead, following Thursday’s 1-0 Europa League semi-final first-leg win more than Celta Vigo in Spain, their focus is focused on winning Europe’s second-tier tournament, with all the related prize of Champions League qualification.
Mourinho told Sky Sports: “Yeah, all [focus] around the Europa League but these days we attempted to play for a outcome.
“You can inform me you didn’t play using the very best group, the players who’re 1st selection in the moment, but you cannot say we did not attempt to win the game.
“That is what we’re going to endeavor to do inside the remaining three matches in the Premier League but, definitely, everything for subsequent Thursday.”
In spite of the defeat, Mourinho was eager to praise his team’s performance and could uncover no fault together with the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Juan Mata, who had been all generating their 1st starts following extended spells around the sidelines.
“I liked quite, quite much person performances and I liked [them] collectively,” Mourinho mentioned.
“We lost because we didn’t score and we had wonderful possibilities to. They had the luck of [the first] target.
“Apart from that, I can’t ask far more from players who don’t play a single minute of football in the past seven weeks like Smalling and Mata. They had been remarkable the way they performed.
“The kid [Axel Tuanzebe], precisely the same. I consider he did an astounding job and I feel Alexis [Sanchez] knows his name simply because the kid really played extremely nicely.
“It was tough for me to handle the game since the players that I wanted to replace are the players that, in principle, start out the game on Thursday.
“So, difficult to manage it but I believe, in principle, the group was superior, was organised, played to win and defended properly.
“Arsenal were not improved than us in my opinion but congratulations.”
The outcome marked Mourinho’s initially Premier League defeat to Arsene Wenger, a manager whom he has usually had really public spats with.
And unsurprisingly the former Chelsea tactician could not resist having in a single extra jibe at Arsenal and Wenger.
He continued: “They scored, [earned] the win and finally I leave this stadium with [the] Arsenal fans pleased.
“It is the initial time I saw them [the Arsenal fans] smile, I saw them enjoy [it] and they deserve [it] because they are an remarkable club and incredible fans [who] also deserve some joy.”