Manchester United, who were knocked out of Champions League by RB Leipzig will now join Europa League at the last-32 stage, and Mourinho believes the Red Devils will be among the favourites to win the competition. Tottenham had to navigate through two qualifying rounds and one playoff game to secure qualification from Group J with a game to spare. Mourinho’s men face Royal Antwerp on Thursday knowing a win would see them avoid Manchester United in the knockout stages through the seeding system.
Jose Mourinho believes teams knocked out of Champions League group stages should not be allowed to drop into Europa League as its unfair for the other teams in the competition. Speaking ahead of their Europa League game Mourinho said “It is the way it is and honestly 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, of course the level of the competition is going to improve, no doubts. When the quality improves, the attention improves, and that’s a good thing for the competition but from the sporting point of view it’s not fair that a team that doesn’t succeed in one competition drops to another. It’s just the principle. In football, when for some reason we don’t succeed unlucky, next season. But it is the way it is and it’s not a problem.
Manchester United become one of the top favourites to win the competition. The teams that drop from the Champions League are always strong teams; teams that normally don’t belong to that level of the Europa League competition. Manchester United is one of the top teams. Their group was very hard: Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Leipzig, very hard. We all knew it was not going to be easy for any one of them and we all knew that from that group a top team would drop to the Europa League.”