Forget the training ground smiles or the fact that Manchester United are second in the Premier League.
Trailing runaway leaders Manchester City by 16 points places them in a sort of No man’s land that the United boss Jose Mourinho, clearly doesn’t relish.
“It’s easy to go to the books and to understand that with this number of points we would normally have been close most seasons,” he says.
“We are not because City have a good number of points. It is very difficult for the second team to be (not) fighting for the title, which we are not at this moment.”
There is also a prickly moment at Carrington when a journalist asks Jose Mourinho if Liverpool’s approach against Manchester City has shown him how to defeat the league leaders.
“I am not a pundit. I am not going to comment anything about Liverpool,” says Mourinho.
Well, that was to the point from the United boss, who also brushed off a question about Alexis Sanchez from BBC Sport’s Simon Stone.
So what exactly has Jose Mourinho had to say when his chief rival, Pep Guardiola, across the road is on the cusp of the Premier League title? It’s not exactly the scenario any Manchester United boss would relish surely.
It looks like he’s played it with a straight bat. “My motivation is to finish second,” he says.
“Mathematically the top four is not done.That is the first objective. After that, I don’t hide. In practical terms 2nd, 3rd, 4th is the same because we don’t win the title but we qualify for the Champions League group phase. I prefer to finish second, we have been in the second position for many months.
“My objective for tomorrow is to try to have points to finish second.”
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