A determined Jose Mourinho insists that Manchester United can compete for UEFA Champions League glory next season, after missing out on a place in Friday’s quarter-final draw.
Mourinho was asked by reporters whether United can seriously challenge for major trophies with further investment. He spoke passionately about his burning desire to secure a third Champions League triumph of his career, after previous success in Europe’s elite competition with FC Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010.
“To say that if the clubs that are in a better situation than us, if they stop investing in everything and we do invest, I would say we are side to side,”the boss said.
“But if they are in a better situation than us, and they keep investing the same or more than us, it’s difficult. It's as simple as that – it’s difficult.
“I’m not saying we will never catch up. You have the best proof of it. I won the Champions League with Inter. I didn't win the Champions League with Real Madrid, or with Barcelona, or with [Cristiano] Ronaldo, or with [Lionel] Messi. When I was Ronaldo’s manager, we didn’t manage to win the Champions League.
“But we can win it and we are going to fight for it again, no doubt.”
Early team news: United v Brighton article
The full story on Jose Mourinho's squad update, ahead of Saturday night's crucial FA Cup quarter-final.
“We went out to a side that has been more successful than Manchester United in the last seven years in Europe,”Mourinho said.
“We played a side that has a huge tradition in knockout competitions. We are going to a side that is in the Spanish Cup final and knocked out Atletico Madrid in two legs.
“They invest wisely and have a team with a great deal of experience at the highest level playing every week against Real Madrid, against Valencia, against Atletico Madrid, against Barcelona – against the players.”
Mourinho: I view every wall as a door!Video
'I didn't expect a 12-minute answer!'Video
“The fans will be sad at being out with the players,”Mourinho added.
“They have to learn how to cope with that level of expectation and that level of pressure and they have to survive and when they survive they become stronger.
“Easy life, the fans not upset and no critics – that’s not good because if you want to make a real top team with a top mentality, they need to grow up. The best way to grow up is to have this kind of feeling.
“I don’t want the fans to have lower expectations. I want the fans to have high expectations because I want the players to have high expectations too.”