Football

It will be hard to catch City next season: Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has sent an early reminder to fans to be realistic about their chances of overhauling English Premier League champions Manchester City next season.

United finished second behind City this season, but the gulf between Pep Guardiola's record-breaking team and Mourinho's side was a whopping 19 points.

Said the United boss: "The difference of points tells a lot.

"I always think that in the championship the truth is always there.

"In knockout competitions, in one bad day, sometimes in a lucky or unlucky moment, sometimes the truth is not always there.

"But in championships, 38, 40 matches, the reality is always the reality of the numbers.

"The reality of the numbers is between second and fifth, the difference is three or four or five points, but the difference between the first and second is a difference of 19. That is the reality of the numbers.

"Can we close that gap in one season with a very difficult market, an absolutely difficult market?

"We are going to try."

Red Devils star Paul Pogba believes the key to challenging City will be United's mentality.

Citing his team's mental strength when they came back from 2-0 down to beat City at the Etihad Stadium last month as the benchmark, he told beIN Sports: "It was all mental - it just came back in the second half. Everyone with the mentality like beasts.

"If you have that mentality all season, we would have been fighting and top with Man City for sure."

Mourinho's quest to topple City next season will take place without his long-serving right-hand man, Rui Faria, who is leaving the club with the manager's blessing.

Faria has been assistant manager at Old Trafford since Mourinho took over two years ago, having first worked with his fellow countryman 17 years ago at the Portugese club Uniao Leiria.

United sent him off with a win yesterday as a Marcus Rashford goal in the 34th minute was enough to see off Watford 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Football