"All of the teams they got better", Mourinho told a news conference on Tuesday.
"Last year I said it was fantastic to finish second considering the quality we had compared to other teams who were fighting for a top-four finish", he is reported to say. "And this year with more problems that we have had, it proves what I said at the beginning of the season, that it would be a very hard season". He responded: "Try to win as many points as possible and try [to achieve] nearly the miracle of finishing fourth".
"United are in a massive battle to get into the top four, even the Europa League places at the moment". We are again going to have to make adaptations and compensations to try to give some balance to the team. We need a good run of results and I think we need not to waste points where we shouldn't waste.
I said my hopes and targets were by the end of December to be in that position [in the top four]. Now the target has changed. "But then I believe we are again going to have the spirit to fight and to try to win the match". I don't think we need a miracle at all. The player's colossal showings at the back have played a key role in the Partenopei's rise in recent seasons, and he is now widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world.
Watford’s Stefano Okaka is a reportedly a pal of Thierry Henry
"At the end of the season the top six will be done by the six teams we all know have that responsibility to finish in the top six". Wednesday's game will be the first time that Mourinho faces Arsenal without Arsene Wenger at the helm, but the United boss continued his frosty relationship with the Gunners by claiming that their Europa League campaign has been "easy".
In an explosive rant, Mourinho also said Pogba kills the mentality of his teammates when he plays games.
"Valencia is not playing, Shaw is a doubt, Darmian is back but I have to wait and maybe we decide like the last match a couple of hours before the game". Despite that I would still find it hard to back them at the now quoted [2.5] match odds price.
"I don't speak about that".
"I look back at Sanchez for Arsenal, and there's something not quite right with him at United, and it will be interesting to see how the situation will develop".