ibusinesslines.com March 23, 2017

Jose Mourinho delivers verdict on Man United's top-four hopes

20 March 2017, 07:23 | Charlene Valdez

Getty Images

Getty Images

Performances have improved under Jose Mourinho since Louis van Gaal's departure in the summer.

United held out despite late pressure and added a third in the third minute of injury time when Middlesbrough goalkeeper Victor Valdes, a former United player, slipped as he was about to make a clearance, allowing Antonio Valencia to walk the ball into the net.

Jose Mourinho would rather end the season with Europa League glory than a top-four spot as Manchester United plot a rousing finish.

Speaking to Portuguese TV channel SIC, Mourinho said: "A minimum of three years, I think I will be here, I think the club understood the necessity to give stability to all levels".

"We tried to protect others in the way we played".

'I think the squad that he has picked this time is a very young squad, a lot of players from the under-21s. I tried to protect the central defenders in the last part of the game. Either way, it's been a while. "We can not even sleep on Sunday morning because we have to wake up at seven o'clock to eat and go to the game".

But after the 3-1 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium, Mourinho revealed the situation remains the same.

Jesse Lingard celebrated his England call-up with a stunning effort from range making the most of damaging counter-attack for United to double their lead.

The duo are among five United players to have linked up with Gareth Southgate's England squad and Lingard has dismissed concerns over his fitness after limping off in the second half. "We controlled everything before our second goal and they then changed to play with (Rudy) Gestede and (Alvaro) Negredo", Mourinho said, according to United's website. Under the leadership of caretaker boss Steve Agnew, Boro appeared to enjoy a sense of freedom not seen for a matter of weeks.

"But we still have two doors open to play Champions League football next season and that's the good thing". Neither manager could - or would - shed any light on that episode of shoving, both preferring to concentrate on their own side's fighting spirit.

This was a United win that few would describe as pretty or even convincing. If all else fails, United must win the Europa League in order to sneak their way into the Champions League next season.

Middlesbrough: Valdes 7; Barragan 6, Bernardo 5, Gibson 5, Fabio 6; Leadbitter 6, Clayton 6, De Roon 7; Ramirez 7, Negredo 6, Downing 6. Unused subs: Guzan, Stuani, Fry, Guedioura, Forshaw.

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