Jose Mourinho wants Manchester United Europa League glory over Premier League top-four finish

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he'd prefer to win the Europa League rather than finish in the Premier League top four

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho insists he would rather his side win the Europa League than finish in the Premier League's top four.

United brushed Middlesbrough aside 3-1 on Sunday to move above Arsenal into fifth and four points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, who drew 1-1 at Manchester City.

But, with his team in the Europa League quarter-finals against Anderlecht next month, Mourinho insists he would rather take the prestige of a major trophy while also qualifying for the Champions League.

"It was a big win (against Boro) because it keeps us alive in the fourth position race," he said at the Riverside.

"If we don't win this today we lose the chance in relation to the Arsenal defeat, and Man City and Liverpool, where somebody is going to miss points.

Manchester United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard celebrates after scoring their second goal against Middlesbrough
Image: Jesse Lingard added a second before Antonio Valencia bagged the third

"But I prefer to win the Europa League because it gives us the same - Champions League football - but also a trophy, prestige, and a European Super Cup.

Middlesbrough 1-3 Man Utd

"But maybe we don't win, so we have to fight until we can to try to finish fourth, which is what we did today, without many players. We had a fantastic attitude and desire from all the boys. It's a massive victory for us."

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Goals from Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard and Antonio Valencia made short work of managerless Boro - and United did it without key, injured duo Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and the suspended Ander Herrera.

Marouane Fellaini directs a header past Victor Valdes to score the opening goal at the Riverside Stadium
Image: Marouane Fellaini opened the scoring with a first-half, back-post header

"We changed a lot of players - we had to do that - and we tried to protect others the way we played," Mourinho explained.

"For example, Valencia played in a position where I try to protect him a little bit instead of 100m up and down. I tried to protect the central defenders in the last part of the game, bringing another one on.

"I had to protect Juan Mata because he played 90 minutes against Rostov. I had no midfielders on the bench, so I had to go with Carrick and Fellaini for 90 minutes.

"We had to build something, to do what we did in the first half, because in the first half we played very well; no shots on our goal, we had big chances, and they couldn't cope with our movement."

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