Chelsea boss Antonio Conte believes Manchester United can still finish in the Champions League places, ahead of their match at Old Trafford on Sunday.
While the Blues have been the run-away leaders in the Premier League for most of the season, United have languished outside the top four of the table and are currently in fifth, four points behind Manchester City.
The Red Devils have a game in hand on each of the four teams above them, though, and Conte believes Jose Mourinho’s side can still gain entry into the Champions League courtesy of where they finish in the league, and not by winning the Europa League.
“I think Manchester United have the possibility to arrive in the table in the first four places,” he told UK newspapers. “But I’m sure United’s players know this situation. They want to fight to arrive in this position.
“It’s not right to be concentrated only on one target if you have the possibility with two [options] to reach the Champions League.”
Sunday’s match is likely to be a heated affair, as Mourinho takes charge of a home match against his former club – where he won three Premier League titles – for the first time.
Conte and Mourinho had already crossed paths earlier in the season, when Chelsea won the reverse fixture 4-0, but the Italian said he had no hard feelings towards his Portuguese counterpart.
“I have zero problems.It’s only a sporting competition between him and me. There is a game of football,” Conte added.
“I want to try and win with my team. He wants to try and win with his team. It’s normal to be a conflict during the game, but only a sporting conflict.”