Manchester United deserve to be second – Jose Mourinho
United remain two points ahead of third-placed Liverpool.
Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United deserve to finish as Premier League runners-up despite criticism of his side’s displays.
After the disappointing reigns of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, United turned to the Portuguese in the summer of 2016 in a bid to bring glory back to Old Trafford.
Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield success was a decent return in Mourinho’s first campaign, but they limped home sixth in the league.
Things have improved in that competition this term, but leaders Manchester City have run away to such an extent that they can wrap up the title in next weekend’s Manchester derby.
Mourinho claims not to have given Saturday’s game much thought but believes United deserve second spot ahead of much-lauded Liverpool and Tottenham.
“Manchester City is not important for me,” the United boss said after a 2-0 win over Swansea.
“Important for me is that since the moment we left the first position and went to second, we stayed there for the whole of the season.
“We deserved to feel second in spite of what you can say, the critics you make, you all say the third, fourth, fifth, sixth are better than us but they are not better than us because we have more points than them.
“We are going to fight every match. Seven matches to go, we are going to fight to try and finish second – and this guy is going to keep Swansea in the Premier League. (Carlos Carvalhal) is the manager of the season because they were dead, and he is going to save them.”
Mourinho was speaking next to friend and compatriot Carvalhal, who accepted the United manager’s unorthodox invitation to join him in the press conference after Swansea’s loss at Old Trafford.
The United boss was in positive mood after the game but is understood not to have been keen for his players to share their thoughts, despite saying Paul Pogba should explain his drop-off in the build-up to Saturday’s match.
Mourinho recalled the club-record signing against Swansea and believes his performance reflected that of the team.
“I think he played like the team,” the Red Devils manager said of Pogba. “Team played very well in the first half, he played very well in the first half.
“The team in the second half went a little bit down and Paul also went a little bit down, but he played 90 minutes (for France) in Russia and it’s normal to go a little bit down with the rest of the players.”
Swansea counterpart Carvalhal said the performances of Pogba and Nemanja Matic were key on Saturday.
He had no complaints about his side’s 2-0 defeat and is confident they will stay up, having overseen a turnaround since his surprise appointment in late December.
“We are swimming now, absolutely,” Carvalhal said.
“We are not in the line of the water we are swimming, and this is good because if you go to the line sometimes, the sharks push you down and you can go last position.
“But so far, we’re swimming so it’s not bad, but we still feel we need to swim faster and we need more points to stay up.”