Jose Mourinho insists he could be forced to accept defeat in qualifying for the Champions League through the Premier League top four if Manchester United lose their next two or three games.
Man United host Chelsea in a fortnight and then Everton in successive home games over the next few days as the side endure a very busy schedule of fixtures.
Although Man United still have a big chance of finishing in the top four, their odds look much higher in the Europa League, especially following their recent draws.
Speaking about the situation, Mourinho claims United could put more emphasis on the Europa League if they drop more points.
“They [the players] have to be resilient, they have to be professionals,” Mourinho said. “They have to be team players, they have to understand the team needs, they have to go to the limits, they have to play with small injuries, they have to play with pain, play with fatigue because there is no other chance.
“When I look for example in two weeks we are going to play against Chelsea, before we play Anderlecht and after we play Anderlecht. Chelsea before, they are on holidays and after they are on holidays, you can name their team, you can say this one, this one, this one, this one and this one.
“In 15 days’ time maybe the Premier League is not important for us, maybe it is. If we keep winning matches now that match against Chelsea is an important match for us, if we lose matches now that match is not important. The important matches are only Anderlecht.
“So we want every match to be important until the end of the season and if we manage that, to be in the run in the two competitions, the boys have to be very resilient, very strong physically, they have to cope with everything like they did in that week against Rostov, coped with the bad pitch, coming from London by bus, they coped playing against Chelsea with 10 men, coped with playing against Rostov three days later.
“But some bodies they felt it. Like Pogba’s body felt it and had a negative reaction. So we need to be strong and need to believe and a good starting point is by saying the ones that are not [available] are not important, the only ones that are important are the ones that are available.
“We have things still to play for. I know what you mean, I can say that if we are not fighting for the top four, if we are not fighting to try to win the Europa League I would say it’s a great moment to forget this season and to do everything thinking about next season.
“That’s not the case because every match now for us is a big match. Europa League is play quarter-final or go home, in the Premier League one more match, one more victory we are in the run, one defeat maybe you are not in the run anymore.
“So we just have to think about this season now.”
It’s a very important month for United and their results will reveal United’s priority as the side fice Anderlecht in the quarter-final tie just before Chelsea’s arrival.
It’s clear United felt the difficulties of four games within 10 days before the March internationals and it’s only set to get worse during the club’s injury crisis.