Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that he feels his side are being hampered in their pursuit of the Premier League title by being involved in the Europa League this season.

The Red Devils missed out on Champions League football last season when they lost at West Ham United in the final game at Upton Park, which was perhaps the last nail hammered into Louis van Gaal’s coffin.

There were suggestions that Manchester United’s pursuit of Mourinho in the summer would be hindered by the fact they were not in Europe’s elite club competition, but the 53-year-old was prepared to lead them even if they were in the Europa League.

However, heading into their first group game against Feyenoord later tonight in the Netherlands, Mourinho has already dropped in an excuse or two regarding their hopes of winning the Premier League.

“This is not a competition that Manchester United wants,” Mourinho said at his press conference.

“It’s not a competition I want, it’s not a competition the players want.

“But it’s a competition where we are and that’s the reality. We have to look to the competition with respect.

“We must find that motivation that I found myself already and I have to pass that motivation on to the players, because I know the Europa League is not the big dream of every big player.

“I think we want to do well in the competition and, for a club of our dimension to do well, is not to be out of the competition in the group phase.

“It’s more difficult, yes, especially because you also have the chance to play on the Monday.

“But since the beginning of the season until we get the fixtures, we didn’t get that privilege.

“So when we play Thursday we were never given a Monday spot to have one more day [to recover].”

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Culled from Squawka