Jose Mourinho has told his players that Manchester United’s win over Liverpool on Saturday was just the prelude to “live or die” games against Sevilla and Brighton.
Sevilla visit Old Trafford in the Champions League on Tuesday, with the round-of-16 tie finely poised after a goalless draw in the first leg last month.
United then host Brighton in the FA Cup quarterfinals four days later, and Mourinho has said there is no time to dwell on the 2-1 success against arch-rivals Liverpool.
“Seville and Brighton are more important games than Liverpool,” the United manager said.
“Liverpool is Liverpool, it is a big match, it is a match against a direct competitor for the top, but nothing is decided yet.
“We have eight more games and 24 points to play for. But Seville and Brighton are live or die games, so the next two are much more important.”
Paul Pogba missed the Liverpool game after picking up an injury in training on Friday, and Mourinho is uncertain whether the France international will be available against Sevilla.
But sources said there is hope that Anthony Martial will recover from the thigh problem that has kept him out for the last two games.
“I don’t know,” Mourinho said when asked about Pogba’s availability. “I will go and speak with him.
“The injury was contact with a player in the last minute of the training session. If I finished the session one minute before, it wouldn’t have happened.”
United know they need to beat Sevilla to book a place in the Champions League quarterfinals.
And Mourinho warned that their victories over Chelsea and Liverpool would mean nothing if they did not get the job done.
“I can imagine that if we lose against Seville on Tuesday everyone will have forgotten what we did in the last couple of weeks,” he said.
“That’s modern football. You have to live in the moment and cope with it.”
Mourinho also praised referee Craig Pawson and fourth official Martin Atkinson for their performances against Liverpool.
After visiting boss Jurgen Klopp had left his technical area in the second half, Pawson chose to warn him rather than sending him to the stands.
“I’m happy with the decision, because he was not speaking against the referee,” Mourinho said.
“He was upset with a player and the same happened to me against Crystal Palace where I was upset with my player and therefore they [the officials] understood that too.
“I think Martin Atkinson, after so many years of this, I think made the right decision. I saw it. He [Klopp] was very upset with his player and not at the referee.
“If you leave the technical area by a couple of metres — or in this case 20 metres — but to speak to your own player and not to complain about the referee’s decision, they made the right decision.”