Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has warned that he expects a difficult transfer market in the summer as he plots a title assault in 2018/19.
The boss is under no illusions of the task faced in overhauling champions Manchester City next term but is certainly up for the challenge. The Premier League table does not lie and, even though there is pride in the reaction to City's runaway lead since as early as the back end of last year, the squad will presumably need to show similar progress again to pick up the domestic crown.
“The difference in points tells us a lot,” conceded Jose.
“I always think, in the championship, the truth is always there. In knock-out competitions, sometimes there's a bad day or sometimes an unlucky or lucky moment. Sometimes the truth is not always there in cup competitions but, in the championship, with 38 or 40 matches, the reality is always the reality of the numbers.The reality of the numbers is that between the second and fifth team is eight points. The difference between first and second is 19 points. That's the reality of the numbers. Can we close that gap in one season? With a very difficult market? An absolutely difficult market? We are going to try.
United's overall campaign was assessed by Mourinho as he looks ahead to taking on Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup final.
“I'm happy because second is the [highest] position that was available since, what... October or November,” he declared.
“Two things could happen to a club like us if we cannot be first. Either I'm not professional, I'm not committed and I have no pride or, the other way is to say this is the best position available and we have to go for it. It's exactly what I told the players before the West Ham match on Thursday. Imagine if we need a point to be champions. Do we get that point or not? Everyone said, 'We get that point.'”
Jose outlines plans for Rashford & Pogba article
The manager has moved to quash speculation that the popular duo could leave the club in the summer.
The boss went on:
“So, if we would get that point to finish first, we get it to finish second. Based on professionalism, honesty and the pride we played for, we managed to finish second. It's very positive, considering we can jump the wall of 80 points if we beat Watford.In the top domestic competitions in this country, we are at least the second best. We are second best in the Premier League and one of the two best in the FA Cup. Is it enough to celebrate? No, not for me. But we did our job the best we could and the boys can now think they did a positive thing.