Gary Neville believes Manchester United could sacrifice their FA Cup quarter-final with Chelsea for their main aim of a Champions League qualification.
Man United travel to Stamford Bridge on Monday night, just 72 hours before their Europa League last 16 second leg against Rostov at Old Trafford following the 1-1 draw in the first leg in Russia.
With the winners of the Europa League heading into next year’s Champions League, and the Premier League top four also earning their place in the competition, Neville claims Mourinho will prioritise the fixtures that matter.
“It comes down to what Mourinho prioritises,” Neville said. “The FA Cup could be a competition that United sacrifice because they have to try and get into the Champions League.
“Obviously the only two routes are the Europa League and Premier League games.
“It will be a big challenge mentally on Monday. It might be the one, at this moment in time, that they can sacrifice in terms of trying not to complicate the fixture congestion any more.
“I thought United would have a chance at the start of the season. But when Diego Costa and Eden Hazard turned up and they corrected their defensive problems by going three at the back, it became pretty apparent quickly that the old Chelsea were back.
“There’s a lot of Premier League winners in that Chelsea team. The issue has been you don’t know which Chelsea will turn up from one season from the next. Once the real Costa and Hazard turned up and you had David Luiz in defence and [N’Golo] Kante in midfield, you have a championship-winning team, or the makings of one.
“There is still a bit to go, they [Chelsea] still have some work to do. It won’t be as comfortable as we think, there might be some dropped points in the next few weeks.
“The challenge at United was probably bigger than what everyone thought. When I look at it now, I don’t think anyone could’ve won the league with United this season.”
It seems like winning the Europa League is a bigger possibility than actually qualifying inside the Premier League top four, but Mourinho will be keeping his options open.
Hopes are they can continue their impressive form as they already have the EFL Cup under their belt and a win over Chelsea would be a much-needed confidence boost.