Jose Mourinho's opinion of the Europa League has changed drastically in four years

He suggested the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City would prefer to be in United's position

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho has insisted winning the Europa League is a much greater achievement than finishing in the top four, four years after insisting he did not “want my players to feel the Europa League is our competition.”

Manchester United’s defeat to Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday meant that they can now mathematically not make the top four, leaving the Europa League as the only way they can qualify for the Champions League.

Against both Spurs and Arsenal the week before, Mourinho has rested the majority of his first-choice stars to save them for their Europa League run – something he insisted he would never do when months after Rafael Benitez guided Chelsea to Europa League glory.

Speaking in 2013, Mourinho, who had just succeed Benitez as Blues boss, told the BBC: “I don’t want to win the Europa League. It would be a big disappointment for me.

“I don’t want my players to feel the Europa League is our competition.”

However, after the defeat to Tottenham on Sunday, Mourinho completely contradicted these comments, insisting that the other clubs finishing in the top four would prefer to be in Manchester United’s position of challenging for a trophy.

“I don’t know the way the other clubs think; I don’t know what is important for them,” Mourinho said. “At Manchester United, for us it’s more important to win titles than to finish in the top four.

“So if we can win a third title, or as you like to say, a second title, if we can do that it would be magnificent.

“We know it’s a big objective, we know that if we lose the final we don’t play Champions League, we know that. But we fight for titles and probably other clubs finishing in the top four, probably they would like to be in our position, to try and fight for a title.”

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