Jose Mourinho has denied taking a gamble by writing off Manchester United’s Premier League campaign and said league matches were games his side did not want.
The Europa League has been Jose Mourinho’s priority for several weeks now, but the manner of his side’s 2-1 defeat at Tottenham, particularly in the first half, will stick in the craw.
Behind after six minutes thanks to Victor Wanyama’s powerful header, it would have been worse was it not for David De Gea.
Harry Kane also clipped the crossbar before bringing timely end to his wait for a goal against United, with the fans’ favourite directing home a free-kick from the ever-impressive Christian Eriksen.
Wayne Rooney pulled one back for the visitors – the last goal at White Hart Lane – but could not take the gloss of a victorious end to life at the Lane in a game in which United were firmly second best.
“I make the the maximum of the team’s potential. The players have the motivation to win the last match at home. They played to win and we tried to have balance even with players out of position,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“We gave minutes to people who needed minutes and gave protection to those who needed protecting. After we went 2-0 down we brought more quality and balance to the team and put the players in their correct positions.
“We got to 2-1 and we could have made it 2-2, but I’m happy and fine with the individual performances. The two goals are two very bad goals conceded, but the team is not used to playing together.
Asked if his hands were tied with so many matches, he added: “Yes, today, against Man City, Swansea, Arsenal, Southampton and the final game against Crystal Palace.
“And when people say we gambled, we didn’t gamble. Nobody can play two big competitions with 15 players and this is what we had. It was compulsory, we didn’t gamble and I’m happy with the situation.
“I rested a few players, there were no injuries and one less match to play because at the moment the Premier League are just matches we do not want to play.”
Asked what he thought he needed to mount a two-pronged challenge next season, he dashed off before adding: ” I do not want to think about that. I’m thinking about the final.”