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Published: 11:06 | 24/7/16

Mourinho fears Europa League distraction

Jose Mourinho fears Manchester United's Europa League campaign could threaten their Premier League title ambitions.

The Portuguese says the Thursday-Sunday Europa League schedule leaves United in the "worst possible situation" to challenge for the title, and believes Chelsea have a major advantage next season because of their failure to qualify for Europe.

"The Premier League doesn't do you any favours. We will be playing [in the Europa League] on Thursday, but I don't think they will then make us play on a Monday, they will make us play on Sunday and probably at 12 o'clock," Mourinho told The Sun.

"So we are in the worst possible situation. It is the worst [if you want to fight] for the Premier League.

"It is much easier to be a Champions League team. And obviously it is much easier to be what Liverpool were two years ago and what Chelsea are next season [with no European football].

"One complete week to work every week, that is a dream. That is a dream for a manager who wants to improve his team. "

Mourinho says the United board have given him three seasons to return the club to former glories, but the former Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid boss wants to win the title in his first season.

"The message from the owners and [executive vice-chairman] Mr Woodward was this, 'Get your three years, do your work, improve the team and bring us back where we belong during a three-year period.' My message was that I wanted to win the title in the first season," he said.

"I want to be champion. To say before the season starts that the top four is the target? The top four is not the target. We want to play to be champions.

"If during the season we realise the points difference doesn't allow us to fight for the title, we are going to establish a new target and when you can't be champion the next target is to finish top four."

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