Jose Mourinho fully expects his Manchester United team to have climbed the Premier League table by the turn of the year.
Mourinho says difficult back-to-back away games on the fixture list have affected his side's progress so far, and although the looming league trips to Bournemouth and then Manchester City present another challenging pair, he remains confident that the Reds will have a loftier perch when 2019 rolls around.
“I think we will be in a better position,”he told reporters at Friday's pre-match press conference.
“I always say that by the end of the season you play 19 matches at home and 19 matches away and it doesn't matter when, but the reality is the way the fixtures are coming, sometimes they have an influence in the moment.We had a double of away fixtures, Burnley and Watford, and now we have a double of away fixtures, Bournemouth and Manchester City.
“We will have Juventus 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 and Manchester City - so the calendar was not nice to us.But I think by the end of December, which is the end of the first half of the Premier League, I think we are not going to be in the position we are in now. We are going to be in a better position.
Mourinho also insists he is not worrying about the exploits of others in the league and wants his team's concentration to be much closer to home .
“I think in this moment we have to focus on ourselves and do better, or get better results,” he said.
“I think it's very difficult, for example, to go to Stamford Bridge and do better than what we did in terms of performance. We had three points in our pocket but we left with only one.
“In other matches, we could have had and we should have had better results than we did. So, until the end of December, we have to focus on ourselves and the potential we have and the problems we have and the qualities we have and try to go because at the moment we are outside the top four.
”We have to push hard and work hard to improve and try and get into the top four positions.
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