Jose Mourinho ready to shelve Manchester United's top four chase in favour of Europa League

Winning the Europa League comes with the bonus of an automatic Champions League berth for next year and Mourinho admits he could change United's priorities

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Jose Mourinho is ready to shelve Manchester United's top four chase in favour of a tilt at the Europa League.

United, who are in Russia ahead of the first leg of their last-16 tie with FC Rostov on Thursday, are sixth in the league, three points adrift of the Champions League qualification spots.

Winning the Europa League comes with the added bonus of an automatic Champions League berth for next year and Mourinho admits, should they negotiate their way past Rostov, he will speak to Ed Woodward and the board about readdressing United's priorities for the remainder of the campaign.

“The Europa League is very difficult, but it’s a target for us,” he said. “If we beat Rostov and we find ourselves in the quarter-final, then we have to think really seriously about the Europa League.

“In this moment we’re still in the last 16. In the last 16 we’re still far away, but when a team gets into the last eight and you go to the quarter-final draw, you smell the final.

“In the quarter-final, you smell the final and then in a certain period of the season I have to analyse my team, the players and the conditions of everyone. If I have to make choices, I have to make choices, but choices that I would always share with my owners and with my board, but it’s not for now.

“For now it’s just to play, play against Rostov, play against Chelsea, play against Rostov again and then let’s see how we are in all the competitions, and try to make the right decisions.

“To finish second is better than to finish third, to finish third is better than fourth and fourth is obviously better than not being in the top four and not going to the Champions League.

“The second position is very difficult, but it’s very possible. First is impossible. Second is possible and we have to fight for it.”

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