Mourinho: Manchester United will soon be back in the top four
Manager confident his side will be in a better position by end of December
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho: confident of return to top four. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
José Mourinho believes Manchester United will soon be in the top four and once there they can consider challenging for the title.
United are in eighth place with 17 points, five behind Arsenal, who are in fourth, after 10 games. Mourinho is confident his United side can bridge this gap and then assess if a tilt at a 21st championship is possible.
He said: “When you are outside the top four I don’t think you should speak about the title. When you are there, which we are going to be, you can look up, see the distance, look to the fixtures, to the calendar, you can look to the situation at that moment – also the injuries, suspension, form and then you can feel it.
“But in this moment we are outside the top four so the point is now to get the points we need to try and be in the end of December in a better position than we are in now at this moment. I think we will be in a better position.”
Mourinho pointed to the schedule as a factor in United’s low position. “The reality is that the way the fixtures are coming sometimes they have an influence [at a particular] moment,” said the Portuguese. “We had two fixtures away – against Burnley and Watford – now we have the same – Bournemouth [Saturday] and Manchester City. We will have Juventus [in the Champions League] away before Manchester City, we will have Valencia away before Liverpool.
“In this part of the season we play away against possibly the three biggest candidates for the title – Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City – so the calendar was not nice to us. But by the end of December, which is the end of the first half of the Premier League, we are not going to be in the position we are now, will be a better position.”
Antonio Valencia has a knee problem and is unavailable for Bournemouth.
Meanwhile, United have launched a review into their security protocols after it emerged a pitch invader got into Old Trafford with two toy guns during last month’s Champions League game against Juventus.
Shortly after play got under way during the hosts’ 1-0 defeat by the Italian champions, a fan ran across the pitch and was restrained by stewards close to the players.
Manchester United said the safety of fans was an “absolute priority” for the club. “Carrying a children’s miniature plastic toy gun into a stadium is clearly an extremely irresponsible act,” said a spokesperson.
“Fortunately, the actions of the pitch intruder at the Juventus game did not harm anyone. However, as the security and safety of all fans and staff is the absolute priority at Manchester United, the club immediately launched an investigation into the circumstances around this issue. This includes a full review of our already rigorous security protocols, using our own security teams together with external expert consultants.”
At the time of the incident, Greater Manchester Police confirmed that one man in his 40s was kept in custody overnight, having been arrested on suspicion of pitch invasion.
Uefa has charged Manchester United for the “field invasion”. The case will be dealt with by the Uefa control, ethics and disciplinary body on November 22nd.
There have been other security concerns at Old Trafford in recent history. In November 2016 two fans hid in a toilet overnight after leaving a stadium tour party, in the hope of watching Manchester United play Arsenal the following day. In September 2016 a match against Bournemouth was cancelled after a fake bomb went unnoticed inside the stadium for four days. It emerged that it had been left behind after a training exercise.