London — Jose Mourinho insisted Manchester United will not give up on the Premier League title race after his side cut Manchester City’s lead back to 11 points.
Mourinho’s side won 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard before Gareth Barry replied for the hosts.
Mourinho is adamant United will keep going until the end of the season despite their Manchester rival’s huge lead at the top.
"I know that the questions are always coming in the same direction and I keep saying the same," Mourinho said.
"Our last match in the Premier League is Watford at Old Trafford, in mid-May, and until then in every match we go — every match we will try to win.
"If people ask that question to us and then you do it to the third team and the fourth and to the fifth and sixth, probably they will disappear. Probably they want to go on holidays. We don’t want to go on holidays. We want to play until the last match."
Mourinho refused to be drawn on the leaked video that emerged on social media showing City players celebrating Saturday’s win against Tottenham by taunting United over their cautious style of play with the words "park the bus".
At the same time City are planning talks with manager Pep Guardiola at the end of the season as the club seeks to tie him to a long-term deal, reports said on Monday. Guardiola is half-way through his three-year deal at City, but the club hierarchy are reportedly confident the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss can be persuaded to stay longer. Guardiola said in November that he was happy at City and his contract, which expires in 2019, was "not a big issue".
United are set to check on the fitness of captain Antonio Valencia after he limped off with a sore hamstring after 66 minutes at West Brom. The full-back will be assessed ahead of the League Cup trip to Bristol City on Wednesday and next Saturday’s league game at Leicester.
"The Valencia injury is what I call a December injury," said Mourinho. "It is an injury of the accumulation of fatigue. It is a muscular one — hamstring. He is an experienced guy who will know not to let it go to difficult limits. But it is an injury of fatigue — everyone in the Premier League, especially the ones with more accumulation of Cups and European Cups, are at risk."
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp admits Manchester City will be almost impossible to catch at the top of the Premier League, but the Liverpool boss would happily settle for a top-four finish as a lucrative consolation prize.
Goals from Mohamed Salah, Philippe Coutinho, Dejan Lovren and Roberto Firmino sent the Reds up to fourth place. They are 18 points behind runaway leaders City, but Klopp is happy with his team’s form as they chase a place in next season’s Champions League.
"Can City be caught? I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball. But if they struggle, like maybe nobody with their quality has struggled before, then someone should be there to use it," Klopp said. "I don’t see it but if I stopped working hard the moment I couldn’t be a league champion, I wouldn’t be here.
"It’s really intense in this league and it’ll be unbelievable the number of points you’ll need at the end of the season to get anything. A lot of teams are in good shape, but City are winning all their games."
Liverpool’s victory over Bournemouth, their fourth consecutive win on the road, leaves Klopp’s side only four points adrift of third-placed Chelsea.
They now have 34 points from 18 games, largely on target to match the 76 points they reached last season to finish fourth. Egypt winger Mo Salah has been a revelation since arriving from Roma, but Klopp is reluctant to talk up individuals.
"He’s got 20 goals but what happens if he doesn’t score from now on? He didn’t score against West Brom, when we needed it more than today," Klopp said. "He knows how much I respect and like him. But I don’t go home and think: ‘How good is he?’ That’s not how it works."