Jose Mourinho says he should not be labelled a failure if Man United fail to win Europa League
Mourinho to prioritise Europa League final over last three league matches
By Michael Kelleher
Last Updated: 12/05/17 5:56pm
Jose Mourinho insists Europa League success should not determine whether his first season in charge of Manchester United is viewed as a success or failure.
United qualified for the final against Ajax in Stockholm on May 24 with a 2-1 aggregate victory against Celta Vigo and their route into next season's Champions League appears increasingly likely to hinge on what happens in that match.
£25pm Month Pass
Capture an unmissable summer of sport. More live football than ever, the British & Irish Lions tour and more.
Failure to do so would be a blow to Mourinho as he outlined in great detail during his introductory press conference as United boss last July, when he spoke of the importance of returning United to Europe's elite competition.
When asked if the Europa League final will determine whether his first season in charge was a success or failure, Mourinho said: "I think the media has the right to say [that] and it makes sense to say it.
"But I don't feel like that. I don't want the players to feel like that. I don't think the board feels like that because we have worked very hard.
"I probably worked this season harder than ever. So for me personally, I don't think that way."
United have been difficult to beat under Mourinho, losing only four Premier League matches, which is tied with Tottenham for the lowest total in the league.
But their 14 draws are a league high, and their total of 51 goals scored is at least 17 less than each of their top six rivals.
Yet success in Stockholm will give Mourinho his third trophy as United manager, adding to the FA Community Shield and the EFL Cup, and he feels the media would be portraying him unfairly if his first season in charge was to be labelled a failure.
Mourinho said: "We won a League Cup and we won a Community Shield. Until the injuries arrived we fought for the Premier League top four. We had a fantastic record of 25 matches [unbeaten].
"We did things that nobody has done in this club in the first season like winning a trophy, like having the record of Manchester United in the Premier League for unbeaten matches, like reaching a European final.
"We did good things but if I was on your side [the media] and you are always looking for these kinds of capital letters and big headlines, I accept if you say that."
United travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday to take on Tottenham, live on Sky Sports 1 HD.
Mourinho admits he will prioritise the Europa League final over United's three remaining Premier League matches.
"I have to give some minutes to everyone because we only have 15 players. We don't have more. We only have 15," said Mourinho, who confirmed Eric Bailly is likely to feature in all three after his red card against Celta Vigo.
"So I have to play them but I have to play them mixed. I have to play them by periods and I don't have another solution.
"In the Premier League we can only finish fifth or sixth. I don't think we can finish seventh or finish fourth. So we can finish fifth or sixth and we can win a trophy.
"By winning that trophy we can play Champions League next season and that is the game.
"We are not saying matches are not important. Matches are important but we have one that is more important than others."