Sunday afternoon brought a big win for the Red Devils, albeit over one of the league’s worst sides, which put them in better contention for top four. Manchester United were victorious 3-1 at Middlesbrough today and now find themselves just four points behind Liverpool for fourth place, but with two games in hand on their arch-rivals.
Top four now seems like a more realistic route to the UEFA Champions League next year than it had seemed most of the season, but winning the Europa League tournament is still probably the more likely way, at least on paper.
Mourinho himself said that his side would prioritize Europa League should they advance to the round of eight, and now they have.
Following the league win this weekend, Mourinho said he prefers winning the UEL, over finishing in the top four, as a the path back to Champions League.
[It’s a] big win because it keeps us alive in the fourth position race. It was very important to keep us alive,” Mourinho said after United’s win today.
“Do I prefer [to] finish fourth or win the Europa League? I prefer to win the Europa League because the Europa League gives us the same, gives us Champions League football, but gives us a trophy, gives us prestige, gives us a European Super Cup.
“So I would prefer [that], but maybe we don’t win the Europa League, so we have to fight until we can to try to finish fourth and it’s what we did today without many players, but with a great answer in terms of attitude and desire from all the boys. It is a massive victory for us.”
“We don’t have plan B, C, D, E, F and G — but we have M, N, O, P and S. It is fantastic because we manage, in the same week, to go to the quarterfinals of the Europa League which is an important target for us.”
“At the same time, we got these three points that keep us in the race for the fourth position so we still have two doors for Champions League football next season.”
“These guys gave everything. We started the game really well, Valdes made three fantastic saves before our first goal. We controlled everything until our second goal.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times and NBC Chicago.com, contributes to Chicago Tribune.com, Bold, WGN CLTV and KOZN.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks