Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says the Reds must string a run of good results together in order to push for a top-four place.
After the high of the superb 2-1 victory at Juventus in midweek, City ensured United go into the international break on the back of a disappointing result, following a 3-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.
Although Anthony Martial pulled a goal back from the spot, following earlier efforts by David Silva and Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan made the points safe after a lengthy passing move by the Blues.
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When asked about the difference in quality of the two sides, Jose told Sky Sports:
“12 points. It’s 12 points. I think our team is improving a lot. Even defensively conceding three goals today, I would say it was a positive performance defensively – apart from the individual mistakes.
”Since the beginning of the season, we are conceding too many goals with responsibilities from, I would say, the back four. That was not the case today. We’ve paid with points with the many mistakes that we were making but, you know, we said we knew there was a difference of potential since the beginning of the season.
“We knew our second position last season was a fantastic achievement for us. This season we are going to fight for the top four and that is what we can do. We are outside that and we are having very difficult fixtures, double away fixtures, Chelsea away and Manchester City away. It is almost impossibly difficult for us to win three matches in a row. Now we have to go for it and to try to build on what we are doing.”
Ahead of the next Premier League outing, a home game with Crystal Palace on 24 November, Jose responded to a question about whether the realistic ambition is to try to clinch a place in the top four standings.
“We are outside the top four, how you can speak about the title?” he replied.
“To speak about the title, you must be in the top four positions. Let’s fight to close the gap and jump into the top four and then, one day if we jump into the top four, let’s see the difference.”