Jose Mourinho has had his say on where Manchester United will finish in the Premier League this season, saying they could even face a struggle to make the top six.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side thumped Chelsea on the opening day of the 2019/20 campaign but have since dropped points to Wolves, Crystal Palace, Southampton and West Ham.
Speaking in the Super Sunday studio before United’s 2-0 defeat at West Ham, former United boss Mourinho said he felt his former club faced a battle to make the top four and could even struggle to make the top six, while Roy Keane believes a Champions League spot is “there for the taking”.
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Jose fears top-six Utd struggle
“I don’t think they are a team capable of fighting for the top two,” Mourinho said. “However, a good achievement for them would be to finish in the top four and get back into the Champions League.
“What are the objectives of the club? It’s very important for everybody to share and agree with the objectives.
“If internally the objective is to finish in the top four and to build from there, with the team not thinking about fighting for the title at all, I think it is the perfect environment to try to bring some young players through and to build something for the future.
“They are far (from the top two),” he added. “It’s difficult for me to answer. For two seasons I could feel lots of positives things; obviously the third season was not good enough. I was sacked – probably deservedly because the final responsibility comes as a manager – but the sad reality is they’re worse than before.
“Maybe people think that I’m enjoying the situation but I’m not. I have people at the club that I love and I have a lot of respect for the fans. I think they are going to be really in trouble to get not just into the top four but the top six. It’s with a sad feeling that I say that.”
Keane: Top four there for the taking
Keane admits he has become more optimistic about United’s top-four chances in recent weeks – but fired a warning to his old side.
“When there are young players coming through, you have to remind them you are playing for Manchester United to win. People talk about development and finishing fourth, but don’t forget about winning,” he said.
“God help me in our dressing room if someone mentioned finishing fourth as a great achievement. He would have been lynched, absolutely.
“A couple of weeks ago I’d have said I wasn’t sure about the top four for United but having looked at Tottenham and Arsenal over the last few weeks, I think United should be expecting to finish fourth.
“It’s there for the taking. It’s there for a lot of teams and United, with the players that they have, should be capable of doing it.
“That’s where the pressure comes onto Ole because there has to be some sort of pressure on him. You can’t be saying: ‘We’ve got a two to three year plan.’ That’s nonsense as well. You’ve got to win football matches consistently at big clubs.”
This article was originally published by Sky Sports and reproduced with permission.