Following United’s 2-0 defeat at top four rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, Mourinho’s second-place side fell 15 points behind Man City with 13 games to go. United are embroiled in a race to finish in the top four as they’re in second place in the table but just five points ahead of fifth-place Tottenham.
Mourinho knows that and has acknowledged that the title race is “practically closed” with City losing just once all season long.
“They are doing so so well, it makes me feel like they aren’t letting the others come close to them.With the number of points we have in normal conditions that would leave the fight open. In this moment the fight is open for third, second, fourth, fifth and the sixth, but is practically closed for the first,” Mourinho said. “We are trying to become first of the last. We want to finish second.”
“I cannot say we are doing bad or Tottenham are doing bad or Chelsea are doing bad. Manchester City started strong and kept being strong with results and managed to win games even when they didn’t deserve. I give credit. Last minute in extra time. If you tell me all the six want to be champion so the the other five have failed. I don’t think that is correct.”
So, there you have it.
As close to a title concession as you will get from Mourinho without actually saying Pep Guardiola is a genius and has masterminded one of the best title-winning teams in Premier League history (as if Mourinho would say that…)
United’s manager is saying what we are all thinking, but if City slip up at Burnley on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) and United beat Huddersfield Town at home (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), then maybe Mourinho will change his tune slightly.
The reality of the situation is: it will take an incredible collapse for City not to win the title and United are now in an intense top four battle rather than chasing the title.