Jose Mourinho has reiterated his belief that he did a “fantastic job” in delivering a second-place finish for Manchester United in the Premier League last season.
The Portuguese stated on a regular basis during the 2017-18 campaign he considered being the closest challengers to runaway leaders Manchester City to be a positive for the Red Devils.
He even went as far as suggesting that a runner-up berth ranks among his finest achievements, despite ending up 19 points off the pace.
United’s struggles this term suggest that they may well have overachieved, with the club currently sat eighth in the table and scrapping to force their way back into top-four contention.
Pressed on why he has been so keen to talk up a campaign which delivered no silverware, Mourinho said: "Because I’m not speaking about our own situation but you can finish 10th, I’m not saying us, I’m saying a team can finish 10th and a manager feels like a champion. Correct?
"If you speak with David Wagner, Rafa Benitez, Claudio [Ranieri] now, if you speak with them and tell them you are going to finish 10th they will feel like a champion.
"I made a fantastic job, I stayed in front of many teams with more potential than my team.
"Last season I finished second and I felt we stayed ahead of teams with more potential than us. It’s as simple as that."
While Mourinho remains positive when it comes to events of the past, it is the present that is causing him greater concern.
United are currently four games without a Premier League win and know that they need to take a positive result from a meeting with rock-bottom Fulham on Saturday in order to start building some momentum.
"I want to be positive and think we are going to win but if we don’t, we give credit to the people that deserve credit,” Mourinho said.
"The game is not going to be 11 against 0, it’s going to be 11 against 11, good players in the other side.
"I repeat that the position, the points sometimes don’t say much about the real potential of the team.
"[Ranieri is] one of the two most important managers in the history of the Premier League, in my opinion, so they have the potential to come here and to give us a very difficult match.”