Jose Mourinho is following the example of Manchester United predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson by forging a plan to catch Manchester City next season.
Mourinho has admitted defeat in the Premier League title race, with United an ominous 15 points behind City with just 13 games remaining.
However, the United boss is already looking towards the 2018-19 campaign to overhaul Pep Guardiola’s side.
He is taking a leaf out of Ferguson’s book after United were beaten to the Premier League title by Mourinho’s Chelsea in both 2005 and 2006, before going on to reclaim the championship themselves.
“I always remember Sir Alex said in 2005-06, when we won the second title with Chelsea, that we [United] need to improve a lot because they’ve raised the bar to such a level,” said Mourinho.
“They [Chelsea] won two titles in a row – the second title was easier than the first – and then the biggest manager in the Premier League said United needed to improve a lot.
“That was the click for the improvement of the team. In 2006-07, United won the title back.
“It has to be like that.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 2, 2018
“That’s why every match until the end of the season is an important match for us. It’s not just about the points and finishing in the top four, which is important.
“We must try to finish second, try to play the best we can and improve the players individually the best we can and be the best possible team at the end of the season.
“Then we must try to start next season in a good way, like we did this season, but try to be consistent and not to lose points like we did in some matches where we shouldn’t.”