Ince: Mourinho ‘naive’ to prioritise Europa League

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Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince has questioned manager Jose Mourinho’s decision to prioritise winning the Europa League.

Mourinho opted to rest key players against Arsenal in the Premier League at the weekend to have them fresh for the Europa League clash with Celta de Vigo, which resulted in a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.

However, the Red Devils only have a 1-0 lead in their Europa League semi-final, ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford on Thursday night, and Ince believes Mourinho is taking a big risk focusing on winning in Europe to secure a Champions League spot.

The defeat to Arsenal saw United drop to sixth position in the Premier League standings, four points adrift of the top four.

Ince told Paddy Power: “If United had beat Arsenal, they’d be on 68 points with a game in hand and in a really advantageous position to make the top four.

“Champions League would’ve been in touching distance. I can see they’re clearly going for the Europa League as the main target, but I think that’s naïve.

“If they’d put out a slightly stronger team last week, they’d be touching top four. Just imagine if they hadn’t let so many silly points drop earlier in the season.

“It’s a massive risk, but if Mourinho takes United to the final and they win, people will say he did the right thing.”