Man Utd boss Mourinho reiterates Europa League priority over top-four finish

Jose Mourinho Manchester United Europa League
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The Red Devils boss concedes that a desire to win major silverware at Old Trafford is stronger than the will to push on up the Premier League table

Jose Mourinho is aware that Manchester United is a club that “wants trophies," meaning that the Europa League must be prioritised over the Premier League.

The Portuguese has already secured two pieces of silverware in his debut season at Old Trafford as a result of Community Shield and EFL Cup successes.

He has the opportunity to complete a hat-trick of triumphs in continental competition, with Mourinho prepared to rotate and put a top-four finish at risk in order to chase down that crown.

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Following a 2-1 victory over Burnley that leaves United one point behind arch-rivals Manchester City ahead of a derby date on Thursday, the Red Devils boss said: “If we beat Celta Vigo, we go to the final and, yes, it is important to us to play Champions League, but this club wants trophies.

“We cannot give the club the Premier League. We have a 25 per cent chance to win the Europa League.

“I will rotate players again to give some players a chance again. In terms of expectation, it is better to go into a derby with one point difference rather than four.”

Jose Mourinho Manchester United

Victory in midweek would lift United above their neighbours and into the Champions League spots.

Mourinho will once again be looking for his injury-hit squad to do the business, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo the latest senior stars to make their way to the treatment room.

Early returns from niggles would aid the collective cause at an important stage of the campaign, and Mourinho has once again called on Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to step up and offer assistance to hard-working centre-half Eric Bailly.

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He added: “Bailly was incredible [against Burnley].

“If I was Smalling or Jones, I would play Thursday. I wouldn’t accept one guy to play nine matches in a row because I am injured.

“If they have a crazy mentality like I have, they will play. If they are safe thinking and they are surrounded by people with the mentality they have, they will need more time, they will be more cautious. If it was me, I’d step up to play.”