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Jose Mourinho: 'Difficult' for Man United to compete if City keep spending

Shaka Hislop and Dan Thomas are at a loss for words after Jose Mourinho claimed that Manchester United lack "football heritage."
Following the defeat against Sevilla, the ESPN FC crew discuss how much patience the Manchester United board have left for Jose Mourinho.

MANCHESTER, England -- Jose Mourinho has admitted Manchester United will struggle to compete with Manchester City in the future if Pep Guardiola's side continue to spend heavily in the transfer market.

City are just two wins away from clinching the Premier League title after opening up a 16-point lead at the top of the table.

Mourinho will be charged with bridging the gap next season. But the 55-year-old insists that will be difficult unless City's Abu Dhabi owners put away the chequebook.

"The reality is that some clubs, they were ready to win," Mourinho told a news conference on Friday.

"They were ready to win. You know what I mean? Other clubs are not ready to win. One thing is to go for the jugular and another is to build a different process.

"If the clubs are in a better situation than us stop investing and we invest, we are side to side. If they keep investing the same or more than us, it's difficult. It's as simple as that. It's difficult."

Mourinho has spent £286 million on eight new players since arriving at Old Trafford in 2016. It is part of a £615 million outlay in the five years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, while City have splashed out £785m in the same time period.

Mourinho's team that was knocked out of the Champions League by Sevilla on Tuesday included just four of his own signings. And he hinted that two of those -- Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic -- are the only players in his squad who have met his high standards this season.

Nicolas Otamendi celebrates after Manchester City's defeat of Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Manchester City are 16 points clear of Manchester United in the Prem table.

He said: "You cannot expect me to say 'this and that player, they have to do better.'

"You cannot expect me to say. I prefer to say that Matic and Lukaku are performing at a high level from day one until the last match, I cannot tell you the ones that are not performing. I cannot tell you before a Champions League match."

United were expected to beat Sevilla, currently fifth in La Liga, but were dumped out of the Champions League after a goalless draw in Spain and a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford.

They managed just four shots on target in 180 minutes against a team that has conceded 42 league goals this season.

Mourinho, though, insists United did not deserve their tag as favourites, and claimed a number of Sevilla players are better than his own.

"We went out to a side that's more successful than Manchester United in [the] last seven years in Europe," he said.

"We went out to a side that has a huge tradition in knockout competitions, a side in the Spanish cup final.

"We are out to a team that knocked out Atletico Madrid in two legs. We are knocked out to a team that is brilliant in their approach for many years, with their scouting system, the way they invest with every Euro.

"They're a team with a great deal of experience at the highest level, playing every week against Real Madrid, Valencia, Atletico, Barcelona, the best players.

"Do you think they didn't have any players who could play in my team? I cannot name them. If I name them their agents will jump with happiness and they will say: 'Tag, tag, price,' this and that. In Sevilla, there are many players who would play in my team."

United still have the FA Cup to contest this season, with their quarterfinal against Brighton on Saturday taking on extra significance following this week's Champions League exit.

A Wembley final on May 19, should they make it that far, would be a chance to end the campaign on a high. But Mourinho has urged his players to use their disappointment against Sevilla to "grow up" and spur them on to become a "real top team."

He said: "The fans have to be sad with being out and the players have to learn how to cope with that level of expectation and that level of pressure.

"They have to survive and when they survive they become stronger. An easy life, and the fans not upset, and no critics, that's not good.

"If you want to make a real top team with [a] top mentality, you need to grow up and the best way is to have this kind of feeling.

"I don't want the fans to have low expectations, I want the fans to have high expectations because I want the players to have expectations, too."

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.

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