"When people say we gamble, we didn't gamble, we didn't choose the Europa League - we had to do it".
United suffered a 2-1 loss against Tottenham on Sunday to mathematically confirm that the Red Devils would finish outside the top four for a third time in four seasons.
The Portuguese has instead banked everything on Europa League glory, which would offer a route into the Champions League. I can't stop thinking about what could have been... but that's life that's football, you win some you lose some.
"I don't know other clubs, I don't know the way they think, I don't know what is important for them, but we, Manchester United, feel it is more important to win trophies than to finish in the top four", he reiterated after the Tottenham match.
That means their only hope of Champions League qualification rests with beating Ajax in Stockholm on May 24 - and Mourinho has rotated players in Premier League matches in recent weeks as he has plotted his way through the Europa League. They played 90 minutes the ones that need to play and I rested a few people. I don't want to see it now, maybe tomorrow, but even if it was unfair, I don't think the UEFA rules will allow any chance of an appeal.
"But we fight for titles and probably other clubs finishing in the top four, probably they would like to be in our position to try and fight for the title". After 2-0 we brought a bit more balance to the team because we put players in the right positions and we put midfielders in midfield and the team improved a lot.
"We didn't gamble, it was a compulsory option". So I'm happy with the situation today.
United - assured of finishing no higher than fifth - has two fixtures left to play in the league this season against Southampton Wednesday and Crystal Palace Sunday.
Asked for his take on the final, Mourinho told BT Sport: "First of all two monsters - the history of Manchester United and the history of Ajax is fantastic".