Manchester United 1- 1 Celta Vigo
Winning the Europa League has become Mourinho’s priority as he looks to secure a return to the Champions League in his debut season at Old Trafford.
And the campaign will be deemed a disappointing one if his team lose to Ajax, who edged out Lyon 5-4 on aggregate.
Expectations were high that Mourinho’s arrival would bring an end to the malaise that has surrounded the Red Devils since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
United have finished seventh, fourth and fifth in the three Premier League seasons since the Scot’s departure – and Mourinho arrived with loftier ambitions than simply scraping into the top four.
Ten months later, the Portuguese has been forced to drastically reassess his ambitions.
He appears to have conceded defeat in the top-four race, with his team sixth, four points adrift of Manchester City going into their final three matches.
With the return leg against Celta at the forefront of his mind, Mourinho made eight changes for Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal – a clear admission he felt winning the Europa League was more attainable than breaking into the top four.
However, his decision will only be justified if they are successful in beating Ajax and claiming their sixth European trophy.
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