Man United's Jose Mourinho concedes Premier League title to Man City
MANCHESTER -- Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has conceded the Premier League title is destined for Manchester City this season, although City boss Pep Guardiola disagrees.
United, who face Huddersfield at Old Trafford on Saturday, are 15 points behind Pep Guardiola's side following the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Wednesday.
Mourinho told a news conference on Friday: "We need points to be the first of the last.
"We have to try to finish second. We are in this position all season; we were first for a few weeks and then we were always second.
"The fight is open for second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth but is practically closed for the first."
Despite defeat at Wembley, United have more points and more goals than at the same stage of last season.
But they have run into a City team that have dropped just seven points all season, form Mourinho says has all but ruled everyone else out of the race.
He added: "They are doing so, so well, that they are not letting the others come close. It's as simple as that.
"With the number of points and improvement in relation to last season, the distance would be a distance that leaves the fight open.
"I cannot say we, Tottenham or Chelsea are doing bad because the points we have are very reasonable, but Manchester City started strong, and kept doing strong, and managed to win matches they didn't deserve -- I give credit -- with that last push of the last-minute goal, the winning goal in extra time.
"If you tell me all six want to be champion, and only one will be and the other five fail, I think it is too pragmatic a way to look at it, because you can do positive work and not winning the title."
However, Guardiola insisted that City have too many tough games remaining to say they are guaranteed to be champions.
"There is 13 games, 39 points to play. We are 15 ahead. It's not over," he told his own prematch news conference, held shortly after Mourinho's. "We have tough games left to play.
"We cannot deny, and everyone knows how tough it is at Burnley. We have Arsenal, United, Tottenham and Chelsea."
City announced their Champions League squad on Friday with Benjamin Mendy included despite still recovering from a cruciate knee ligament injury.
Guardiola gave an update on his recovery, saying he hopes to have the former Monaco defender back in full training in March.
"He is much better," the City boss said. "Today he is in the States, New York. It's four months now. I think it was six months, so two months more. Maybe in March he will be available start to train with us."
ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent, Jonathan Smith, contributed to this report.
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.