Mourinho says teams dropping i...


Mourinho says teams dropping into Europa League is "not fair"

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Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho remains adamant that Champions League teams shouldn't be afforded the safety cushion of Europa League football. 

His former club Manchester United will parachute into European football's second tier following Tuesday's 3-2 defeat away to RB Leipzig.

Mourinho is preparing his side for Thursday's visit of Antwerp to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as they look to secure top spot in their group.

But the Spurs boss isn't keen on the likes of United getting a second European chance in the last-32 come the new year.

"It's a point of principle, and if it happened to my team, I would feel exactly the same," he said.

"It is the way it is and honestly it brings more quality to the competition. We cannot forget that, when you have eight new teams in the competition and eight teams that belong to another level, and they drop to the Europa League of course the level of the competition is going to improve.

"No doubt the quality improves, the intensity improves and it's a good thing for the competition. But from the sports point of view is when I think it's not fair that a team that doesn't succeed in one competition drops to another.

"It's the same thing as if you imagine the third team in the Europa League now there is another competition and third in Europa League instead of finishing goes into the third competition in the hierarchy in European football.

"It's just a principle in football when if for some reason we don't succeed unlucky, next season. But it's the way it is and it's not a problem for me."

Mourinho will be without influential summer signing Pierre Emil Hojbjerg for the Antwerp game, with the Dane given the opportunity to rest.

Serge Aurier will also miss out through injury, but Tanguy Ndombele's in contention having missed the North London derby win over Arsenal at the weekend.

Mourinho couldn't resist having a cut off United's Champions League exit, highlighting his own record of never going out in the group stage.

"I am happy with the record because it meant that my clubs were always in a position of progressing," he told reporters.

"Economically important of course, but not just for that also for the prestige, sometimes more difficult than others.

"For example, at Manchester United when we lost at home to Juventus we had to go to Turin to then qualify in a very difficult group also with Valencia.

"Of course, now Manchester United become one of the top favourites to win the competition.

"The teams that drop down are always strong teams, teams that normally don't belong to that level of the Europa League competition.

"Manchester United are one of the top teams. The group was very hard, PSG, Manchester and Leipzig, very hard.

"We all knew it was not going to be easy for any one of them and we all knew from that group a top team would drop into the Europa League."

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Europa League Jose Mourinho Manchester United Mourinho Spurs Tottenham UEFA Europa League

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