Jose Mourinho confident Manchester United will make up ground on rivals

‘I believe we are going to be in the top four by end of the year’: Jose Mourinho confident Manchester United will make up ground on rivals as he reveals Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku are all fit to face Palace

  • Jose Mourinho has told his players they need to start picking up maximum points
  • Manchester United host Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon
  • The Red Devils are currently seven points behind fourth-placed Tottenham 

Chris Wheeler for MailOnline

Jose Mourinho believes he can propel Manchester United into the top four of the Premier League before the end of the year.

United are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham but have eight more league games to play in 2018 – including five at Old Trafford.

Mourinho, who faces Crystal Palace at home on Saturday, insists United can catch up, saying: ‘I know it’s a big gap but I also know until the end of December if I’m not wrong we have eight Premier League matches to play.

Jose Mourinho expects his Manchester United side to make up ground on the teams above

Jose Mourinho expects his Manchester United side to make up ground on the teams above

Mourinho believes his side are capable of moving into the top four before the new year

Mourinho believes his side are capable of moving into the top four before the new year

‘Eight Premier League matches, we are speaking about 24 points for us to fight for, and the other ones in the top four to fight for too, but I believe we are going to be there.’

Mourinho confirmed that he will have a fully-fit squad to face Palace after Romelu Lukaku (hamstring), Paul Pogba (thigh), Anthony Martial (adductor muscle) and Marouane Fellaini pulled out of international games during the recent break. Luke Shaw will be United’s only absentee through suspension.

‘Martial stayed with us, he didn’t go to the (France) national team,’ added Mourinho. ‘The national team was aware of his problems and with permission he stayed, he worked really hard on that pre-injury because problems in the muscles around the pubis, they are a dangerous situation and he was in a pre-injury situation.

‘He worked really hard. He’s ready for Saturday and he plays. Is he ready to play three in a row in the same week? I don’t know, but the most important match is the next.

‘Fellaini also stayed, no (Belgium) national team, they also let him stay in spite of playing 90 minutes against Manchester City. He needed to stay and prepare himself better after such an injury that he had before, so Marouane is also good.

‘The boys in the national teams, (Marcus) Rashford came with a little problem but is ready, Lukaku is ready — I would say ready with a little bit of a risk, but ready — and Paul we knew with this break he would recover from that small muscular injury.

‘So we don’t have players I can say are out of the game. We have a huge 23 group to choose from.’

Romelu Lukaku is fit to face Palace despite missing Belgium's recent games through injury

Romelu Lukaku is fit to face Palace despite missing Belgium’s recent games through injury

Paul Pogba, who missed United's clash with rivals Manchester City, is back to full fitness 

Paul Pogba, who missed United’s clash with rivals Manchester City, is back to full fitness 

Mourinho has confirmed Anthony Martial will feature against Crystal Palace on Saturday

Mourinho has confirmed Anthony Martial will feature against Crystal Palace on Saturday

Mourinho was reluctant to be drawn further on comments regarding his players’ character that appeared on Friday morning. But he urged his team to continue their promising form that brought three straight wins before a defeat in the Manchester derby.

‘Of course we need points, results, and we need performances because we also like good performances on top of points and good results,’ said Mourinho.

‘It’s up to us. We were playing well and getting good results until the end of the last period. 

‘Of course, we lost the last match but I don’t consider it at all a bad performance and two weeks with a small group of players, waiting for news, good news, bad news, in national teams; no time to work together but we were in a good moment, playing well, so why not stay the same? 

‘To improve and to get good results, because we need now to get points to jump into the position we are in the championship and next week with the Champions League we need points against Young Boys.

‘The supporters cannot do more than what they are doing. We went through a difficult period of results and the supporters were fantastic. They supported the team and in some matches even push the team to different levels than we were at the time. We cannot ask more from them. It’s for us to give them and make them to go to an even better level.’ 



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