29/03/2018 09:30, Report by Joe Ganley
The title race might be all but over, but with Sir Alex Ferguson’s words from 2006 still ringing in his ears, Jose Mourinho knows that the long-term fightback against Pep Guardiola’s runaway Manchester City begins now.
The Reds already have plenty to contend with during the remaining two months of the season, with a record-equalling 13th Emirates FA Cup triumph still on the line and UEFA Champions League qualification yet to be sealed.
But Mourinho has already alluded to the paramount importance of finishing the Premier League season strongly and securing second place.
Given City are 16 points clear, and United possess a nine-point cushion over fifth-placed Chelsea in the race for the Champions League places, fans could be forgiven for asking: “What’s the point?”
But the memory of Ferguson’s United reclaiming the title in 2006/07 – to deny Mourinho’s Chelsea a third successive crown – is fresh in the Portuguese’s mind.
Speaking before United’s 2-0 league win over Huddersfield in February, Jose recalled: “I remember Sir Alex Ferguson gave some interviews saying, ‘We need to improve a lot, because they raised the bar to such a level they won two titles in a row’.
“The biggest manager in the Premier League felt that moment as the click for the improvement of the team and then the team won the title back in 2006/07.