Prioritising Europa League not a gamble, says Mourinho

Pogba shared this image with his father on his 79th birthday

Pogba shared this image with his father on his 79th birthday

After Manchester United's top-four hopes were over with a 0-2 defeat against Arsenal in English Premier League, United's head coach Jose Mourinho said his side have to chase the Champions League by winning the Europa League now.

If United win their semi-final tie, they will face either Ajax or Lyon in the final. I leave Highbury (Arsenal's old ground), they were crying.

Mourinho also called on Old Trafford to make some noise. It was not a gamble, it was a simple decision based on common sense. Seventeen matches with 16 players is completely impossible.

"So since the moment we lost players, initially four of them in one week, we lost Smalling and Jones to the national team and Rojo and Zlatan against Anderlecht".

"It doesn't matter what happened before, it doesn't matter how big matches we played before".

"So it was not a gamble it was just a outcome of our situation", the manager stated to the gathered press. "So we have to fight hard tomorrow". We think about these things and this gives no space for complacency'.

"[There was] no problem - we shook hands before the game, we shook hands after the game".

"This is a semi-final, a European semi-final, and it's the biggest competition we've realistically had of winning over the last two or three years", he added. "The more I can play, obviously the better for me and the more I feel I can help the team".

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"We want to try to win the Europa League - it's more important than finishing fourth".

But Mourinho insists winning the second-tier Europa League for the first time would rival those achievements in 1968, 1999 and 2008 because United can not continue living off their illustrious past.

"Impossible, because I don't think the others, playing one match per week and being in a great situation, are going to blow it", Mourinho said.

"I watched the Liverpool game and I've seen the penalty given by the referee for a handball by Jack Stephens".

Arsenal's hopes of a top four Premier League finish and a spot in Europe's elite competition depend on the teams above them slipping up during the final stages of the season.

However, Rooney is no longer a first-choice player at United and has only made 22 starts this season, fueling the belief his future lies elsewhere.

"A European final for the club would be very important to fight for the only trophy that the club has never won before", he said.

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