Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has explained his decision to prioritise winning the Europa League over finishing fourth in the English Premier League.
Ahead of the semi-final second leg against Celta Vigo on Thursday, Mourinho rested first-choice players in Sunday’s 0-2 Premier League defeat by Arsenal.
Manchester United 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.
“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, Mourinho said”.
He went on to state; “When we lost these players in a period of seven matches in seven weeks it was the impossible job. It was not a gamble but a consequence of the situation we are in.
“To be in the final would be very important to fight for the only trophy the club has never won before.
“We will do tomorrow (Thursday) what we have done since the start of the season which is to fight hard,” he said.
On the importance of Celta game
The United boss has described his side’s Europa League semi-final, second leg against Celta Vigo on Thursday as “the most important match of our history”.
“I think in terms of motivation, we are even,” said Mourinho. “For Celta it is, in their words, the most important match of their history.
“And my feelings, it’s also the most important match of our history. It doesn’t matter what happened before, it doesn’t matter how big matches we played before.
“What matters is the next one and the next one is [on Thursday], so I don’t believe Celta dreams more than us, that Celta wants more than us.
“I really don’t believe so in this aspect I don’t think there will be a difference between both teams.”
“The only game more important than the second leg of a semi-final is the final, so we have to fight hard.”