Not so long ago the three teams were equal but now the Portuguese has revealed why there is such a gap
JOSE MOURINHO says the gap between Manchester United’s players and the big two in Spain can’t be bridged, but they can still beat them.
United enter the Champions League next season with the prospect of facing one of Real Madrid or Barcelona in the later rounds.
There was a time not so long ago when they were their equal but the pair have won six of the last nine Champions League while United have been lagging behind.
Now Mourinho has explained why there is a gap.
Mourinho said: “Messi and Neymar, there is only one Messi and one Neymar, and Suarez, Iniesta, Pique, Ronaldo, Bale , Modric, Toni Kroos, there is only one, so they can only be playing for a club not two clubs, we can’t have them.
“They belong to the clubs, you can be working very hard tactically to improve your players but there are players that are special players and there is nothing you can do.
“But when the matches are real matches, you try to compensate for the difference in quality with a certain tactical organisation and with that you can win in football it’s possible.”
United drew with Real out here in the States beating them on penalties and lost narrowly 1-0 to Barcelona on Wednesday night.
While Mourinho was fulsome in his praise of Real and Barca’s players he believe they have one who can stand alongside their greats based on his performance in Washington’s FedEx Field.
He said: “A team is in a certain day better than the sum of the parts that’s possible in football but the parts are amazing.
“Their relation with the ball is amazing, you can argue about occupation of spaces and speak about all of that but the relation with the ball is still the most important thing.
“And as an opponent on the bench like I am it is beautiful to see their relation with the ball but one of my players today Paul Pogba showed the level and he belongs to that level.”
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde is convinced United can be a force again after facing them in Washington last night.
Valverde said: “I see them as a hard team.
“They have not been well lately but they won the Europa League this year and are in the Champions League.
“Their pressing is impressive by itself and they will be a really hard team to beat.
“For me they are a contender to win the Champions League and be really hard to beat in the Premier League.
“I wouldn’t want to face them in the Champions League.”
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