'Far from a miracle' - Jose Mourinho clarifies on his comment suggesting Man United are top four outsiders
Jose Mourinho has clarified his comments suggesting Manchester United need 'a miracle' to finish in the Premier League's top for this season.
While Mourinho didn't deny he had used the word to describe United's challenge after their worst start to a Premier League season in an interview with Brazilian TV, he insisted he remains hopeful that his side can close an eight point back on fourth placed Arsenal ahead of their meeting with the Gunners at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
Mourinho's comment that United needed a miracle to achieve a top four finish emerged after his side's 2-2 draw against Southampton on Saturday and while it appears he is keen to step back from that view, he didn't deny making the remark as he met the media at United's Carrington training base.
"I don't know if I say or if I didn't but if I used that word is not what I feel at all," said Mourinho, when he was asked whether he stands by his comment that a miracle is needed for United to clinch a place in next season's Champions League.
"There are six teams that should stay in the first six positions, season after season two of these teams are staying outside the top four. For last season it was Arsenal and Chelsea and this season two of these six are going to stay outside.
"Who is the best team of the six the team with more potential, less potential? Who is the team performing not so well? These will be around the questions and answers. At the end of the season the top six will be done by the six teams we all know have that responsibility to finish in the top six.
"Last week, before the Crystal Palace game, I said my hopes and targets were end of December to be in that position, the target changes but in the sense let's try to close the distance best we can and be very close to these positions.
"I think far from a miracle, we just need to not be so unlucky with probably what we have, we need some players to perform better than they are we need to perform better as a team but far from a miracle.
"We have like eight or nine points from fourth something like that, I don't think we need a miracle at all. We need a good run of results, not waste points we shouldn't waste.
Mourinho refused to comment on claims he had a verbal spat with Paul Pogba in the dressing room after the 2-2 draw at Southampton, with one report claiming he called his French World Cup winner 'a virus' after his lacklustre display at St Mary's Stadium.
"I quoted one thing in an interview I gave to Brazilian TV that you can go there and see what I told and another thing is to be quoted who or how. I don't play that game," he said of the report of a clash with Pogba.
"You saw me in the press conference. You saw me in the flash interviews (after the Southampton game), you know what I told. That's simple. You go to my words what I told to TV, press conferences, another thing is somebody said I 'told', I don't play that game."