Football

Mourinho: More important to win title than a top-four spot

Jose Mourinho is not upset to have missed out on a top-four spot, saying winning titles like the Europa League has always been more important to Manchester United.

Promise has been mixed with frustration during the Portuguese's first season in the Old Trafford hot seat, with League Cup and Community Shield successes tempered by English Premier League struggles.

An unerring knack to draw matches they have dominated has cost United, with their top-four hopes extinguished once and for all on Sunday.

Victor Wanyama and Harry Kane secured Tottenham victory in the final game at White Hart Lane, with Wayne Rooney pulling one back for a much-changed United side as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat.

Mourinho had pledged to keep selecting his side with an eye on the Europa League final against Ajax Amsterdam - something he has no qualms about focusing on given the club's thirst for trophies.

He also confirmed that he will continue to rotate in the final two EPL games ahead of the May 24 final.

"I am not upset because we had to make that decision," he said about missing out on the top four.

"When people say we gamble, we didn't gamble, we didn't choose the Europa League - we had to do it.

"Because if I have Ashley Young, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic, Tim Fosu-Mensah, if I had these guys I can rotate, I can go for every match.

"When I have 14, 15 players, I can't do it. It's as simple as that. It is not possible to do it every three days.

"With two matches in hand that we had to play later, it is impossible. We never had one occasion to rest, not even to train properly, so it was not a choice.

"We were pushed for that situation and even the (fixtures) draw... I never understood if it is a draw or if they put the data in the computer, but to finish the season with four matches away from home - Arsenal, Tottenham and Man City - if we were fighting for the title, what a way to fight for the title.

"If we want to try and get some results and protect players, which matches to protect players?

"I cannot go to Man City or Arsenal and put out five kids at the same time altogether. I cannot lose 5-0 or 6-0.

"We, Manchester United, for us it is more important to win titles than to finish top four.

"So if we can win a third title, it would be magnificent for us because we know that it's a big objective. We know that if we lose the final, we don't play Champions League.

"But we fight for titles and probably other clubs finishing in the top four, probably they would like to be in our position to try and fight for the title." - PA SPORT

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