Jose Mourinho has spoken about the importance of Manchester United ending the Premier League season in second place and believes his players should get more recognition for their achievements in 2017/18.
After a spectacular derby comeback last weekend against Manchester City, the Reds' attentions turn to Sunday's home game against bottom club West Bromwich Albion.
With six games left to play, United have 71 points - already two more than the team gleaned in the whole of last season. And the Reds' final tally this term will be the best since Sir Alex Ferguson departed the club almost five years ago.
When asked if United have received sufficient respect for achieving this, Mourinho stated that finishing second only to City would make it impossible to deny his side due credit.
The boss said:
“When we do good things, there is always a but. It's really, really hard for people to praise the team and to praise the boys. I think it's very, very clear.
”That's why I keep saying that we have to try everything to finish second, because then it's impossible to deny what is real, which is the reality of the points. So even with the buts and buts and buts, if we manage to finish second, it's difficult to say that the sixth (placed team) was better than us, or that fifth was better than us.
“So the only way we have to do it is to try to finish second, which is what we are trying to do, but you know that it's still difficult. We know that Spurs and Liverpool are not far from us and let's see what happens.”
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The manager went on to commend his players' attitude, particularly after the Champions League exit. Since missing out on a place in the quarter-finals after a 2-1 defeat against Sevilla, Mourinho’s men have bounced back with exceptional form, winning all three games since.
“After the Sevilla match, only a good group with good people could do what they did, which is win every match after that.
”Because the easy thing would be: out against Sevilla and collapse in the Premier League, let motivation go down, let the quality go down. So I think that's the proof of what the group is: a group of good guys.