Jose Mourinho: Man Utd boss targets ‘perfect’ end to season in Europa League

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Jose Mourinho: Man Utd boss targets ‘perfect’ end to season in Europa League

Winning the Europa League to qualify for the Champions League would be the “perfect” end to Manchester United’s season, says manager Jose Mourinho.

The Red Devils survived a late scare against Spanish side Celta Vigo to join Ajax in the 24 May final in Stockholm.

Mourinho fears Ajax, who finish the Dutch season on Sunday, will be better prepared after a 12-day break.

“This season has been so difficult, so if we manage to win the Europa League it will be amazing,” he said.

“It means a chance to win a trophy and the opportunity to be back in the Champions League.”

Leading 1-0 from the first leg, United took control of the tie as Marouane Fellaini headed home Marcus Rashford’s cross.

Celta, needing two goals, levelled on the night through Facundo Roncaglia to set up a tense final few minutes.

And Celta striker John Guidetti scuffed a golden chance to put the visitors through to their first major European final with the final kick of the game.

Mourinho has prioritised winning Europe’s secondary club competition, which guarantees a place in next season’s Champions League, in his debut season at Old Trafford.

United have three Premier League games left before they can fully focus on their seventh European final.

The Red Devils, who are sixth and four points adrift of Manchester City in fourth, visit second-placed Tottenham on Sunday.

Mourinho’s side also face a trip to Southampton before rounding off their campaign with a home game against Crystal Palace.

The Eagles, who could still be fighting for their top-flight survival, visit Old Trafford three days before the Europa League final.

“Ajax’s league finishes Sunday,” said Mourinho. “They have 12 days to prepare. We have three games and three days.

“Hopefully Palace have nothing to play for because I will make a lot of changes.”

‘United had one chance’

Celta coach Eduardo Berizzo bemoaned the fact United scored with what he said was their “one chance”.

“We performed much better than United did at our place,” he said. “We possibly deserved to get through.

“Given the huge gap on all levels between the clubs, we managed to bridge that gap.

“I want my team to play the way I live life. We express ourselves through attacking football. I think our opponents wanted to break up our fluidity.”