Jose Mourinho has praised Manchester United’s main Premier League rivals.
United sit second in the Premier League table, 15 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City.
Mourinho spent part of his press conference hailing Pep Guardiola’s side, but also those directly below them.
United are leading the race for Champions League qualification, with a three-point gap to third-placed Liverpool. Chelsea are level with the Reds, while Tottenham and Arsenal are two and eight points further behind respectively.
But Mourinho had words of praise for each of the contenders.
“The game is important because we need points to be the first of the last,” said Mourinho.
“We have to try to finish second. We are in this position all season, we were first for a few weeks and then we were always second.
“I don’t remember us being fourth, fifth or sixth, we have been there since the beginning of the season, better than last season in every aspect – points, position, number of goals scored, number of goals conceded, better in everything.
“So we have to try to stay there and it’s not easy, because there are very good teams around us. Chelsea are champions again, and a had a fantastic market, Liverpool are a great team, Arsenal improved a lot in the market.
“Tottenham are a fantastic team and are five points behind us, so we’re doing quite well, with some negative moments – Wednesday was one. It’s very important to do better than last season and try to win something and, if not, do better.
“They [City] are doing so, so well in that they are not letting the others come close to them, it’s as simple as that.
“With the number of points and improvement in relation to last season, the distance would be a distance that leaves the fight open, and the fight is open for second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth, but is practically closed for the first.
“I cannot say, we, Tottenham or Chelsea is doing badly, because the points we have are very reasonable but City started strong and kept doing strong and managed to win matches they didn’t deserve – I give credit – with that last push of the last minute goal, the winning goal in extra time, they managed to do that in a way where that’s the distance.
“If you tell me all six want to be champions and only one will be and the other five fail, I think is too pragmatic a way to look at it, because you can do positive work and not win the title.”
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