Jose Mourinho puts more pressure on Solskjaer with Europa League comments
Speaking in the pre-match conference of the game against Antwerp (h/t Mirror), Jose Mourinho started the mind games against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer by calling Manchester United the favourites to win the competition and went on to take a dig at Champions League teams that drop down to the Europa League.
Jose Mourinho’s former side, with whom he won the Europa League in 2017, exited the Champions League in the group stages after a 3-2 loss to RB Leipzig on Tuesday.
Mourinho has a 100% record in the competition, winning the competition with United in 2017 and FC Porto in 2003 when it was called the UEFA Cup. (h/t Mirror)
However, the Portuguese manager believes that Manchester United are the favourites after dropping down to the competition as they are too strong for the competition.
“Of course, now Manchester United become one of the top favourites to win the competition. The teams that drop down are always strong teams, teams that normally don’t belong to that level of the Europa League competition… The group was very hard, PSG, Manchester and Leipzig, very hard.”
Speaking about the format of eight 3rd-placed Champions League teams entering the Europa League in the round of 32, Mourinho said that the quality of the competition is increased but at the expense of some sporting integrity.
“It’s a point of principle, and if it happened to my team, I would feel exactly the same. It is the way it is and honestly it brings more quality to the competition. We cannot forget that when you have eight new teams in the competition and eight teams that belong to another level, and they drop to the Europa League of course the level of the competition is going to improve.”
Mourinho then went on to question the introduction of a third European competition whereby teams who finish 3rd in the Europa League groups will enter in the knockout stages of this competition and said that it was not “fair” for this to happen.
Tottenham face Royal Antwerp on matchday 6 of the Europa League tonight. While Spurs have already qualified for the knockout stages, victory in this game will mean Mourinho’s men will top Group J.