Man United boss Jose Mourinho on the Europa League: In his own words
Jose Mourinho has had a mixed relationship with the Europa League. Its predecessor, the UEFA Cup, was the first European trophy he won as a manager with Porto in 2003. But as Chelsea boss 10 years later he said it was a competition he would be "disappointed" to win.
In the summer, Mourinho inherited a Manchester United team forced to settle for a place in it last season after Louis van Gaal's side finished sixth.
The new manager initially downplayed the significance of Europe's secondary club competition, but it has grown in importance this season as the chances of finishing in the Premier League's top four slipped away, as well as it being the only European trophy United have never won.
Ahead of the Europa League final with Ajax in Stockholm on Wednesday, here's what Mourinho has had to say about the Europa League during his managerial career -- albeit many of which came before 2014-15 season when the winners were granted a place in the Champions League group stages.
"We have given a great example to the world and those who love football and we have also made history by taking the UEFA Cup to Portugal for the first time ever."
- May 2003, after leading Porto to the UEFA Cup with a 3-2 extra time victory over Celtic.
"The Champions League is only European competition we have to play and that's the European competition we have to give our best. I don't want to win the Europa League. It would be a big disappointment for me. I don't want my players to feel the Europa League is our competition."
- July 2013, after taking over at Chelsea following their Europa League success under Rafael Benitez in 2013.
"When I returned, I felt the experience of Chelsea playing Europa League was not good. The Europa League is a different competition [to the Champions League], the Europa League is a different level of competition for a different level of player and a different level of club. It is not good for a big club to go there and win it. It is better for the evolution of the players and for the evolution of the team to be in the Champions League."
- August 2015.
"This is not a competition that Manchester United wants. It's not a competition I want, it's not a competition the players want. But it's a competition where we are and that's the reality. We have to look to the competition with respect. We must find that motivation that I found myself already and I have to pass that motivation on to the players, because I know the Europa League is not the big dream of every big player. I think we want to do well in the competition and, for a club of our dimension to do well, is not to be out of the competition in the group phase."
- September 2016, ahead of United's first Europa League tie against Feyenoord.
"I'd prefer to win the Europa League because it gives us the same, Champions League football, but it gives us a trophy, prestige, a European Super Cup. But maybe we don't win the Europa League. So we have to fight to try to finish fourth."
- March 2017.
"Ajax are a Champions League team, they come from the Champions League. I always disagree with it, I think a team shouldn't play two European competitions in the same season. I think if the team goes into the Champions League and doesn't qualify they should go home, not have the opportunity to play in the Europa League. The Europa League is for teams who go into the Europa League like us. We finished fifth last season, we went to Europa League, we start Europa League from the beginning of the season and we have to fight where we are."
- May 2017, ahead of United's Europa League final with Ajax.
"It's the only trophy I've won that I don't have a replica of, because my guys, they couldn't do a replica of such a difficult cup, they said. I have a replica of the Champions League, I have a replica of the Premier League, La Liga, all those things I was lucky enough to win. It was not the Europa League in my time, 2003, but the UEFA Cup is too beautiful, too heavy and too difficult to do it, so I don't have a replica. But I have my medal, and more importantly than that, I have my memories."
- May 2017.
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.