Jose Mourinho has spoken out about Manchester United’s chances of reaching the Champions League next season in the wake of his side’s 3-1 win over Middlesbrough in the Premier League, noting that there are still “two doors open” for qualifying ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.
The result came just two days after Mourinho’s men claimed a 1-0 win over FC Rostov and secured a place in the Europa League quarter final against Anderlecht.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, was quick to express his delight at United’s current position heading into the climax of the campaign.
“It’s fantastic because we managed in the same week to go to the quarter-final of the Europa League which was an important target for us, and we got these three points,” he said.
“So we still have two doors open to play Champions League football for next season.
“It was too much for us: injured players, tired players, suspended players. These guys today they were magnificent.”
The stage is now well and truly set for an explosive end to the season: an April period consisting of eight games; a winnable quarter final date with Anderlecht; Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera returning from suspension soon after the international break; and now, following victory over Middlesbrough, a real shot at a claiming a top four place, with Mourinho’s men now lurking just three points behind Liverpool with a game in hand at the time of writing.
To anybody still wondering if United had progressed under Mourinho: contrast this current predicament with the meandering conclusion to last season’s domestic and european exploits under Louis van Gaal.