Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho took a dig at Arsenal’s 19-match unbeaten run ahead of the side’s clash at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
The Gunners extended their unbeaten run on Sunday with an exhilarating 4-2 win against rivals Tottenham at the Emirates.
Unai Emery’s side lost their opening two Premier League matches this season to Manchester City and Chelsea but haven’t lost since and are through to the knockout stages of the Europa League.
Wednesday’s clash will be the first time Mourinho has faced Arsenal without Arsene Wenger at the helm but he continued his thorny relationship with the Gunners by claiming their Europa League campaign has been ‘easy’.
‘It’s a very difficult match for us,’ admitted Mourinho.
‘We play against a good team in a good moment with a good run of results [but] without the accumulation of matches because they play Europa.
‘When you play Europa League you normally play with second choices and you can give a good rest to your [first team] players compared to those in the Champions League, where we have to play in the maximum of our potential.
‘It’s an accumulation of matches and you arrive in December where many teams pay the price for that.
‘When you play Europa – I have done that – it’s not the motivation for the club but it’s good to develop the team and to have people fresh. ‘Plus the confidence of the good results because when you play Europa you have good results because you win easily.
Very difficult match for us but very difficult match for them in spite of our problems, with players, with selections in spite of that it won’t be easy.
United’s 2-2 draw with Southampton left them eight points adrift of the top four and the Red Devils need to win against the Gunners to cut the gap.
Mourinho denied claims that he said finishing in the top four would be a ‘miracle’ but anything but a win on Wednesday would make it unlikely