Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that his side cannot catch city rivals Manchester City in this season’s race for the Premier League title.
United are second, 15 points behind City with 13 matches left in the campaign.
“They are doing so so well and not letting others come close,” Mourinho said during his pre-match press conference on on Friday ahead of the Premier League home clash with Huddersfield.
“With the points we have in normal conditions the distance that keeps the fight open and in this moment the fight is open for 2,3,4,5 but the fight for 1 is closed.”
“City have been strong, they’ve even won matches when they didn’t deserve to, they’ve scored late goals with last pushes and this is why there is such a distance. It’s too pragmatic to say the other five teams have failed.”
Mourinho insists his side have improved despite being so far behind their main rivals City.
He added: “I don’t remember us being fourth or fifth this season, we’re better than last season in every single aspect. You can do good work without winning titles.”
The match on Saturday will mark the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster which claimed a generation of Manchester United players on their way back from a European fixture in 1958.
“I was saying before that this is something that is part of my life, part of my football culture even before I was here, it was such a tragedy, as Manchester United manager it means much more, but it belongs to every sportsman,” Mourinho said.
“I think tomorrow is an amazing day to show respect and the passion for the club. It’s a day to play well and to bring happiness and joy, for people to be together and enjoying their colours.
“It’s not because of the Munich disaster that tomorrow’s game becomes important for us, it’s important for us because we need points to be the first of the lasts. We have to try to finish second.”
Mourinho confirmed that Marouane Fellaini will miss Saturday’s Premier League clash against Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford.
The Belgian midfielder picked up a knee injury in the Red Devils’ 2-0 midweek defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
“They [the medical team] are still working on it,” said Mourinho during his pre-match conference.
“It’s an injury and I feel sorry for him personally and I feel sorry for the team because he’s an important player for us.
“I don’t have news because I don’t want to give you news based on the initial approach.”
“But I don’t think the news is very good. He has a problem in his knee – it’s the same knee [as previous injuries] but not the same location. It was internal, now it’s external, so let’s wait probably a couple more days, but of course he is out of the game tomorrow.
“It’s not an ACL [anterior cruciate ligament], it’s not a complete rupture of any structure of the knee, so we are not going as far as that. But we need him and the Champions League is arriving, we have lots of tough matches to play. Probably we are going to lose him for a few weeks, but I cannot say if it’s two, three, four or five [weeks]. I cannot say at this moment.”
Mourinho also revealed that he hopes to welcome back Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to the squad after their long term injury.
“They are working on the pitch but not yet with us as a group so they are not very close to a return.
“But I want to believe that by Champions League time, around the end of the month, they will be back.”
“I think it’s a day to bring happiness to bring joy,” he said. “For people to be together enjoying the game and at the same time showing all the respect for the people and their families.”