Jose Mourinho has assured that Manchester United will not be relegated from the Premier League at the end of the season despite his team being as close to the bottom three as they are the summit.
United lost Sunday’s Manchester derby 3-1 to City at the Etihad Stadium, meaning they end the day 12 points above 18th-placed Cardiff City and trailing the pacesetters by the same margin.
Mourinho’s side rarely looked like taking a share of the spoils on Sunday, with Anthony Martial’s second-half penalty ultimately nothing more than a consolation.
It was United’s fourth defeat in 12 Premier League games, while they have won just half of their matches.
It was put to Mourinho that United’s title hopes were over because of being equal distance to the top of the table and the bottom three, but he brushed it off.
“I think we’re not going to be relegated,” the Portuguese coach said in his post-match news conference.
Mourinho was also adamant that United did not put in a poor display at the Etihad, highlighting his team had gone into the match on the back of a more gruelling week than their hosts.
While he also dismissed the importance placed on statistics, convinced he will be content with the display even if data suggests he should not.
“One team [City] started the season strong and are still strong, another team [United] didn’t start well and is improving a lot,” he added.
“If you focus on the game, it was open for 80 minutes. I think no one left the stadium before the third goal because the match was open.
“In a week City played three matches at home, we played three away. They had 6-0 wins, no pressure, relaxed.