Jose Mourinho is prepared to make Europa League success Manchester United’s top priority if they continue to progress in the competition. Manchester United will clash against Russian club Rostov in the last 16 of the competition on Thursday.
The English giants already have two trophies under Mourinho- the Community Shield and the EFL Cup. They also have a chance of winning two more trophies, even though the Premier League is discounted. One of them is the Europa League.
Mourinho seems to have sensed this. Ahead of their clash with Rostov in Russia, he said he will re-assess their targets. “The Europa League is very difficult but it’s a target for us and if we beat Rostov and we find ourselves in the quarter-final, then we have to think really seriously about the Europa League because in this moment we are still in the last 16.
“With the last 16 we are still far away from the final but when a team gets into the last eight, and you go to the quarter-final draw, you smell the final,” he added, according to Goal.com.
The Portuguese said he would assess the condition of players, and speak to the board about his choices. “The quarter final – you smell the final and then in a certain period of the season I have to analyse my team, the players, the condition of everyone and I have to make choices. I have to make choices but choices that I would always share with my owners, with my board.”
Even though multiple competitions means more opportunities for silverware, this is pushing the Red Devils to their limits. They will play 5 matches in 16 days, and the clash against Rostov will be the 2nd of them. They will also play against Chelsea in the FA Cup in this run. The former Real Madrid manager said he would look at their performance and make the right choices.
“For now it’s just to play against Rostov, play against Chelsea, play against Rostov again and then let’s see how we are in all the competitions and try to make the right decisions.
“To finish second [in the Premier League] is better than to finish third and to finish third is better than fourth and fourth is obviously better than not being in the top four and not going to the Champions League. The second position is very difficult but it’s very possible. First is impossible. Second is possible and we have to fight for it.”
Mourinho might do well to remember arch-rivals Liverpool’s campaign last season. With no real chance of winning the Premier League or making the top four, Jurgen Klopp turned his team’s focus to the Europa League.They seemed well placed to win the competition, before Sevilla thrashed them 3-1 in the final.
Liverpool had also fallen out of Europa League qualification places, leaving them with no European football. United certainly, wouldn’t want such a situation.