Jose Mourinho: Man United want second, spoiling Man City party not our focus
MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho insists spoiling Manchester City's title party is not his driving motivation ahead of this weekend's derby.
Pep Guardiola's side, 16 points clear at the top, can win the Premier League with victory at the Etihad on Saturday evening. Mourinho is hoping for a first league win over City since taking over at Old Trafford in 2016. But he insists it's only the points -- and finishing second -- that matters.
"My motivation is to finish second," Mourinho told a news conference on Friday after being asked whether he was determined to make City wait to win the title.
"I still have the motivation of finishing top four, mathematically it's not done, is a good distance but not done mathematically so that's the first objective but after that I don't hide.
"That in practical terms and finish next season to finish second, third or fourth is exactly the same, you don't win the title but qualify for the Champions League group stage, but I prefer to finish third and fourth and second and first, and we have been second for many many months, is our objective to fight for that and for that we need points.
"My objective for tomorrow is try to have points to finish second."
United have eight more points than at the same stage last season and have already scored more league goals than they managed last term.
Mourinho says, under normal circumstances, his team would still be involved in the title race. Instead, after 27 wins from 31 games, City can become the earliest top flight champions since Sir Matt Busby's United in 1956.
Mourinho said: "You see the number of points we have and it is easy to go to the books with the number of points we have we would normally be in the fight for the title but we are not because City have a very good number of points that makes it very, very difficult to fight for the title, which we are not in this moment."
City head into the game on the back of a heavy Champions League defeat to Liverpool on Wednesday. They face an uphill battle to stay in the competition after losing 3-0 at Anfield.
Mourinho, though, was in no mood to stick the boot in following Guardiola's nightmare in the quarterfinal first leg.
"I'm not a pundit," he said. "I'm not going to comment on the game."
United almost have a clean bill of health ahead of their trip to the Etihad. Phil Jones and Daley Blind trained at Carrington on Friday morning with just Sergio Romero missing the session after picking up an injury on international duty with Argentina.
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.