Jose Mourinho has told David De Gea to shelve any thoughts about his future until the end of the season after warning the Manchester United goalkeeper there are no excuses for being distracted amid renewed talk of interest from Real Madrid. De Gea's proposed transfer to Real collapsed on transfer deadline day in September 2015, with both clubs blaming each other for the farcical episode, but the Spanish giants could make another move for the Spain No 1 this summer.
De Gea signed a new four-year contract with United to tie him to the club until June 2019 in the wake of that situation, but while Mourinho is thought to harbour some concerns that the Spaniard's focus has been affected by fresh interest from Real, he has insisted there is no excuse for being distracted with United facing such a congested run-in.
De Gea, who missed Sunday's 3-0 win at Sunderland with a minor injury, is likely to be on the substitutes' bench against Anderlecht for the second leg of United's Europa League quarter-final on Thursday night, with Mourinho keeping faith with Sergio Romero.
"I’m not interested in the speculation," Mourinho said when asked about Real's interest in De Gea. "If the player is he shouldn’t [be] because we are playing very important games and every match for us is crucial. In the Premier League we lose a match and the top four gets almost impossible. In the Europa League, we lose a match and we are in trouble, every match is a match that demands from us total focus. I don’t see David has a problem with attitude, the end of the season is the time when players can be thinking about what is going to happen with their careers but I think that is end of season."
Mourinho was dismayed that De Gea almost conceded a speculative shot from Darren Fletcher in the recent goalless draw at home to West Bromwich, when the goalkeeper ended up pushing the ball unconvincingly on to the crossbar after getting his bearings wrong.
Mourinho described it, without any hint of laughter, as a “funny thing” and a consequence of De Gea being mostly redundant in the game. De Gea then let a shot from Phil Jagielka through his legs in the 1-1 draw against Everton.
Mourinho said he will continue to field strong sides in both the Europa League and Premier League while their prospects remain alive in both competitions because he would be "killed" if he played a weakened side against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday when the club can still finish in the top four. The manager also claimed that three or four years without Champions League football would not damage the club's prestige but that everyone associated with United wanted to play in the competition.
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"When it’s still mathematically very possible to finish top four we have to try," he said "If I played against Chelsea with the second team you’d kill me and the football country would kill me because while it's mathematically possible you have to try with the risks you’re speaking about. If there is no chance to finish top four and we are still in the Europa League then there’s a reason no one can criticise because then we have only the Europa League.
"We need and we don’t need [the Champions League]. We don’t need because Manchester United's history is so big and Manchester United is so [much] bigger than many other clubs playing in the Champions League that if Man United didn't play Champions League for three or four years tat doesn’t affect the prestige, dimension and history. So it doesn’t need to play but Manchester United wants to play, it feels it’s the competition adapted to the history of the club."