Cape Town - Jose Mourinho said that Manchester United are way behind Europe’s other top clubs after watching his side outplayed by Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Juventus won 1-0 thanks to Paulo Dybala’s early goal, but were in control for large parts of the Group H game as Cristiano Ronaldo made a winning return to Old Trafford.
Commenting after the game, Mourinho, who has spent around £400 million since taking charge, said United would need to spend a lot more money if they are to close the gap on Europe’s elite.
“To go to the Juventus level? Barcelona level? Real Madrid level? How can you reach that level? Manchester City level? How can you reach this level?” Mourinho asked.
“Yes, but it is not also easy because many of the players they belong to these top teams. So we work with what we have, we try to improve with what we have. I don’t think we gave them too much respect. Juventus was in a different level of quality, stability, experience and know-how.”
Mourinho said that Juventus’ summer transfer activity should act as a lesson to United. The Italians famously splashed out £99 million on Cristiano Ronaldo, while also bringing in Leonardo Bonucci, Joao Cancelo and Douglas Costa for another £100 million.
“Juventus is [Italian] champion for seven years, I think seven years in a row, two Champions League finals in the last four or five years and not happy with what they have. They want more, they want more.
“They had [Gonzalo] Higuain, [Mario] Mandzukic, [Paulo] Dybala but they want more. They want Ronaldo. They had [Andrea] Barzagli, [Giorgio] Chiellini, [Daniele] Rugani, they are not happy, they want more.
“They want Bonucci and they go for the best players in the world. So big, big club with a big past but with also a big desire to have a big future and everything they put there to try to win, I don’t say the Champions League, I think to win the treble. That’s what they want because normally they win at home. But the treble until now, unfortunately for these fellows on the other side, is our treble. But I think they are really close to it.”
Mourinho also lauded Juve’s defence, with Bonucci and Chiellini receiving particular praise.
“They could go to some Harvard University to give classes about how to be a central defender,” he said.
“We play against one of the biggest, really biggest candidates to win the Champions League. It is a team that has everything, they have talent everywhere.”