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Mourinho says Man City deserve the ‘benefit of the doubt’ but jokes about Man Utd being awarded 2018 PL title

Jose Mourinho says Manchester City deserve ‘the benefit of the doubt’ following their two-year ban from European competition, though joked about former side Manchester United being handed the 2018 Premier League title as City await the verdict of their alleged Financial Fair Play breaches.

Pep Guardiola’s side have been handed a two-season ban from Europe after being found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play rulings, while there is also the potential for further sanctions from the Premier League, with the possibility of a points deduction having been described as ‘highly likely’ by the Independent.

Man City are set to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Tottenham boss Mourinho believes the club should be given ‘the benefit of the doubt’ until their appeal is heard, though joked about the chances of his former side Manchester United being handed the 2018 league title after finishing as runners-up to their city rivals two seasons ago.

Should City’s punishment be upheld the decision could allow the fifth-placed team in to secure Champions League qualification for next season, though no decision has yet been made on England’s fourth entrant into next season’s competition.

Tottenham currently sit fifth following their 3-2 win over Aston Villa on Sunday, however, Mourinho says he will not think about the implications for his side until City’s appeal has been heard.

“I didn’t lose one single minute analysing what UEFA have to analyse,” replied Mourinho at his post-match press conference at Villa Park.

“If I go into that, I have to ask if the team that finished second in 2018 is going to be champions, yes or no?”

“That would be interesting but joking apart, I just wait calmly.

“Fourth or fifth, I just think about doing the best we can. The more points we can get the better position we can get. At the end of the season we’ll see where we are. If we are sixth or seventh then it doesn’t matter if the fifth goes to Champions League. So we have a big fight.

“You could see yesterday Liverpool, first against last. You could see today Villa fighting to stay in the division and us fighting for a top position, how difficult it was. This is the Premier League.

“So when we speak about the fifth [place], I think the fifth now for sure Wolves, Sheffield, Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton, everybody looks to the table and week after week they say “we can do it”. And they can. So it’s going to be very hard.”

Speaking about the decision to ban Man City from European football, Mourinho suggested we should all wait to see the final outcome before passing judgement.

“I don’t think it is about huge decisions or small decisions,” added Mourinho. “The rule, the law, it is or it isn’t. UEFA punish them but they have the chance to appeal.

“Until the appeal finishes, Manchester City have the benefit of the doubt. In the end of the process, we will see if they are punished or not.”

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