Mourinho prefers Europa League title over top-four finish

Published: March 20, 2017
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Manchester United's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Middlesbrough and Manchester United at Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough, north east England on March 19, 2017. 
PHOTO: AFP

Manchester United's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Middlesbrough and Manchester United at Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough, north east England on March 19, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said he would rather win the Europa League this season than finish in the top four of the Premier League, even if his side will be fighting their hardest to do both.

United, who won the League Cup last month, moved up to fifth in the league, four points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, with a 3-1 league win at Middlesbrough on Sunday, and will face Anderlecht next month in the Europa League quarter-finals.

United thrash struggling Middlesbrough

“If I can choose, I will choose the Europa League rather than to finish fourth because it gives us the same – Champions League football,” the 54-year-old told the club website. “It is a trophy, it is prestige, it is Europe and it means playing a European Super Cup fixture next year.”

The former Real Madrid manager acknowledged the importance of a top-four finish but said the club’s rivals had a distinct advantage in not having to campaign on both European and domestic fronts heading into the final stretch of the season.

Mourinho identifies United ‘enemies’ after losing Pogba

“I know Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City do not play in Europe, they only have one match per week,” he added. “But we are going to fight like we did [against Middlesbrough].”

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