English Premiership

Mourinho rules out United's chances of finishing fourth

Jose Mourinho.(Getty Images)
Jose Mourinho.(Getty Images)

Cape Town - Jose Mourinho has conceded that Manchester United can no longer finish in the top four of the Premier League following their 2-0 loss to Arsenal on Sunday.

Granit Xhaka and Danny Welbeck both scored within minutes of each other in the second half at the Emirates to hand Mourinho's side a rare defeat. 

The Red Devils, who ended the afternoon in fifth with 65 points from 35 games, are just four points behind Liverpool, with three games to play - against Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and Crystal Palace.

They can also qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League, where they take a 1-0 lead into their semi-final second leg next week.

After the defeat, Mourinho said: "It's impossible to finish in the top four. I don't think other teams playing one match per week, and being in a great situation, will lose.

"And we go with everything on Thursday and we cannot go with everything against Tottenham. Then two days later we play Southampton, then two days after that we play Crystal Palace, and that is too much.

"We have to chase the Champions League by winning the Europa League."

Mourinho made eight changes from the Celta Vigo win, including at right back where Axel Tuanzebe made his first Premier League start of the season.

"I am very happy with the players, they surprised me in a positive way," the manager added. "I was really afraid that [Phil] Jones, [Chris] Smalling and [Juan] Mata could not cope with 90 minutes because they have been injured, but they did.

"The kid [Tuanzebe] was brilliant. Mkhi [Henrikh Mkhitaryan], [Matteo] Darmian, [Ander] Herrera, tried their best, even though they played 90 minutes two days ago. 

"The team was much better today than against Man City. Arsenal defended, coped with our attacking football, and they did well to keep the advantage."

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