Now we have to target Europa League - Mourinho charges

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Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says they may have to prioritize the Europa League as top four hopes slips.


With their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League via a finish in the top four in the Premier League looking grim, Manchester United may now have to prioritize winning the Europa League, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

The Red Devils are sixth in the Premier League and have dropped 17 points at home this season, reducing their chances of finishing in the top four, and Mourinho believes aiming for the Europa League should be their next target.

United, who are away to FC Rostov on Thursday in the first leg of their last 16 tie, are now favourites to win the Europa League, with the competition looking like providing them with their most realistic chance of regaining a seat at European football’s top table.

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“The Europa League is very difficult, but it’s a target for us,” said Mourinho. “If we beat Rostov and we find ourselves in the quarter-final, then we have to think really seriously about the Europa League.

“In this moment we’re still in the last 16. In the last 16 we’re still far away, but when a team gets into the last eight and you go to the quarter-final draw, you smell the final.

“In the quarter-final, you smell the final and then in a certain period of the season I have to analyse my team, the players and the conditions of everyone. If I have to make choices, I have to make choices, but choices that I would always share with my owners and with my board, but it’s not for now.

“For now it’s just to play, 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 is better than to finish third, 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.”

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