Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho claimed that Juventus are “super favourites” to win this season’s Champions League ahead of their clash in Turin on Wednesday.
Three-time winners United are second in Group H after three games on four points – five behind leaders Juventus who are poised to qualify for the last 16.
Mourinho said that United would not be distracted by Sunday’s Manchester derby in the Premier League, but accepted that his team’s Champions League fate will be decided by their final two games against Young Boys and Valencia.
“It’s a big match to play tomorrow, they’re favourites to win the competition,” said Mourinho.
“It’s big enough to not think about ‘what next?’
“It’s big enough to think just about the match against Juventus. It’s not a crucial match for us. It doesn’t matter what happens here.
“There are two more matches against Young Boys and Valencia (which) are going to define the second position.”
Manchester United have had to fight back to win recent matches against Newcastle and Bournemouth and Mourinho warned the club could not do that against Juventus, who beat them 1-0 at Old Trafford two weeks ago.
“We work every day to try but the reality is that normally we don’t start matches well, but if we don’t start well and we end well, that’s fine.
“It’s good fun for the fans, but football is 90 minutes and especially when your opponent is strong, if you give (a) 45-minute advantage, or even 20 or even 10, you have a mountain to climb.
“The good thing is that lately, apart from the Juventus match, we were strong enough to climb the mountain and change the match in the last minutes.
“When you play against a super team, like tomorrow, if you give an advantage away, it’s difficult to climb the mountain.”
Mourinho also said that the injured Romelu Lukaku would not be fit to play and could also miss the match against Manchester City.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits by Joseph McBrien)