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Prioritising Europa League not a gamble - Mourinho

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 01:54

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says a busy fixture list has forced them to gamble on a Europa League win to play Champions League football next season.

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SHOWS: MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UK (MAY 10, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER JOSE MOURINHO ENTERING NEWS CONFERENCE 2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER JOSE MOURINHO, SAYING: "The situation is simple -- 17 matches in seven weeks with 16 players is impossible. It was not a gamble, it was a simple decision. A decision based on common sense." 3. WHITE FLASH 4. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER JOSE MOURINHO, SAYING: "It will be very important to be again in a European final, for the club it will be very important to fight for the only trophy that we have never won before." 5. WHITE FLASH 6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER JOSE MOURINHO, ASKED ABOUT FIFA REQUESTING MORE INFORMATION ON PAUL POGBA RECORD TRANSFER AND WHETHER IT WILL AFFECT POGBA'S PERFORMANCE IN THE GAME, SAYING: "No. The question is simple, he asked if it affects (us). No, it doesn't affect (us)." 7. WHITE FLASH 8. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER JOSE MOURINHO, SAYING: "If we don't qualify for the Champions League, it's because we are not good enough to play Champions League. I try to look at it in a pragmatic way, obviously for the prestige of the club, Champions League is Champions League, obviously financially Champions League is Champions League, obviously for players and for myself Champions League is Champions League, but if we are not there, it's because we are not good enough to be there." STORY: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho defended his decision to prioritise the Europa League ahead of the semi-final second leg against Celta Vigo on Thursday (May 10). Mourinho rested first-choice players in Sunday's 2-0 Premier League defeat by Arsenal and United's hopes of finishing in the top four are fading. They lead Celta 1-0 from the first leg in Spain and victory in the final against Ajax Amsterdam or Olympique Lyonnais would seal a place in next season's Champions League. United lost several key players to injury in April, including leading striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and defender Marcos Rojo. The club has never won the Europa League or its predecessor, the UEFA Cup. If United fail to win the Europa League and finish outside the Premier League's top four they will not play in Europe's most prestigious club competition for the second season in a row.

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Prioritising Europa League not a gamble - Mourinho

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 01:54