José Mourinho is hopeful Manchester United can hold on to second place in the Premier League, though he does not see a difference between finishing fourth or as runners-up. United have been second to runaway leaders Manchester City for most of the season and look well placed to finish in a Champions League spot.
Top four is priority for United
Two league defeats in their past four games has allowed Liverpool to close to within two points of Mourinho's side, but a 2-1 win over Chelsea on Sunday at least helped them to open up a healthy gap ahead of the reigning champions in fifth. Mourinho is aiming for second, though he concedes these days there is not a major difference between that spot and fourth in terms of "prestige" or money, as long as Champions League football is secured.
"The gap is a very short gap," Mourinho told reporters at his pre-match news conference ahead of Monday's trip to Crystal Palace. "Six points between second and fifth is really, really short and open for everybody, but all four are in the Champions League still, so we have other focus, other targets. I have to say, all of us very good teams, in spite of sometimes the way I read it looks like all the others are better than us, but I'm not sure that's the reality. So, I would say there are four very good teams and one will be out of the Champions League.
"If you ask me second or fourth, I say by the financial point of view it doesn't make a difference, by the prestige point of view it doesn't make a difference", Mourinho continued. "You go to Champions League and the fourth [placed team] doesn't even now have to play the last qualification. But, by the personal point of view second is better than third, so we are going to try the best possible. Of course, the top four is very difficult and that's the main target for us, but if you can finish second we won't finish third."