Jose gives up on top four

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: Jose Mour­inho ad­mit­ted that Sun­day’s 2-0 de­feat to Arse­nal means it will now be “im­pos­si­ble” for Manch­ester United to fin­ish in the top four.

United re­main four points adrift of fourth-placed Manch­ester City with three games re­main­ing, in­clud­ing a trip to sec­ond-placed Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur.

Mour­inho said their cramped sched­ule, which in­cludes a pos­si­ble two fur­ther Europa League games, means they must win the tour­na­ment to qual­ify for next sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League.

“It is im­pos­si­ble to fin­ish in the top four. We must play Thurs­day (against Celta Vigo) and then we go again against Tot­ten­ham, but we can­not go with ev­ery­thing against Tot­ten­ham,” the United man­ager said.

“Three days later we have Southamp­ton, and then Crys­tal palace. Oth­ers will be play­ing once a week.”

Mour­inho said he was de­lighted with the per­for­mance of his play­ers and said, un­der the bur­den of so many in­juries and fix­tures, he was sur­prised they man­aged to go 25 games un­beaten in the Pre­mier League.

He said his task now was to con­tinue to ro­tate his squad to en­sure United win the Europa League. At the Emi­rates, Mour­inho gave a Pre­mier League de­but to Axel Tuanzebe, say­ing he was de­lighted by the 19-yearold’s per­for­mance.

“The kid was bril­liant,” said Mour­inho, who asked him to play at right-back in­stead of his nor­mal po­si­tion in the cen­tre of de­fence.

“Tuanzebe is a good player. He is a good kid and a good pro­fes­sional and it doesn’t mat­ter what po­si­tion he starts. Ev­ery minute he spends with us train­ing is fan­tas­tic for him, ev­ery minute in the Pre­mier League is a plus.

“To play against (Alexis) Sanchez, (Me­sut) Ozil, (Danny) Welbeck... these are big play­ers. His best po­si­tion is cen­tral de­fence but against the big boys it is right-back.” Reuters

EPA PIC

Arse­nal’s Granit Xhaka (bot­tom) clashes with Manch­ester United’s An­der Her­rera at the Emi­rates Sta­dium on Sun­day.

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