Mourinho: Losing title on derby day not the end of the world

Jose Mourinho pointed to a past triumph of his over Manchester United as proof that defeat in the derby will not do any lasting damage.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho   -  Getty Images

Jose Mourinho insists it would not be "the end of the world" if Manchester United handed Manchester City the Premier League title by losing the derby on Saturday.

Victory for Pep Guardiola's league leaders would see them secure the trophy with six matches remaining and ensure United will have gone five seasons without finishing top of the pile.

Mourinho, though, pointed to his Chelsea team's 3-0 win over the Red Devils in 2006, which saw them clinch a second top-flight triumph in a row, as proof United would recover from any disappointment this weekend.

"Look, I won the title at Chelsea against Manchester United," he said. "We beat United 3-0 and we won the title at Stamford Bridge in 2005-06. But it was not the end of the world. Manchester United didn't finish. It was just football. 

"The only thing I can say is that we want to win, we don't want to offer them the game. We want to go there and want to compete and win the match if possible. That's the only thing I can say.

"It is normal that you want to delay the champions becoming champions. We would like to beat them, we would like Spurs to beat them next week, we would like them to be champions as late as possible.

"I think Chelsea would feel the same because they would like to be [reigning] champions as long as possible, until late April or the beginning of May. That is normal in football, but in this case obviously they [City] are going to be champions because there is a very significant difference."

Mourinho was happy to admit City have been a cut above the rest in the Premier League this season, in which they have won 27 of 31 games and suffered just one defeat.

"The table is always a fair reflection," said the United boss. "In the end, what matters is what happens in the reality of the points and City will be champions because they deserve to be champions.

"I think they are going to beat Chelsea's [record] total from 2004-05 [of 95 points] and that does not make it easy for the teams coming behind them and even for teams with positive seasons, with [a] positive number of points and with significant improvement on the previous season.

"In our case, I think we have eight points more than last season, more goals scored, less goals conceded, but Manchester City made it impossible for the others.

"So, what do you want me to say? Congratulations for the great Premier League season they are doing? And the moment they become champions, which will be sooner rather than later? I will react the same way that other people reacted when I won three titles in this country."