Jose Mourinho thinks Manchester United matched Arsenal despite losing 2-0 against Arsene Wenger's men in the Premier League on Sunday. Overall, you play Man United and it's another big game.
The Manchester United manager also said he did not think his side "deserved to lose".
"This is the first time I have seen the Arsenal fans happy", he said.
"You can tell me we didn't play with the best players, or the first choice at the moment, but you can't say we didn't try to win the game".
The Gunners kept up the pace and exactly three minutes and 11 seconds later, Welbeck had notched his second Premier League goal of the season.
Both chances fell to Welbeck, who first saw a six-yard effort crucially blocked by Phil Jones following a corner, before Chris Smalling produced a similarly important intervention to get in the way of the striker's first-time shot.
United has arguably the best chance of the half when Rob Holding played a square back-pass that Rooney latched onto, forcing Cech into a vital save.
"Of course we knew we were not coming in our maximum power".
This was the 16th competitive battle between Wenger and Mourinho - and the 13th in league play - since 2004.
And whether United's Champions League hopes now rest on the Europa League, he said: "I think with the last result against Swansea and the defeat today we have to be pragmatic and see it is hard [to finish in the top four]".
"We have still a chance mathematically, and we need some help as well from the teams around us". "We didn't get the win, which is a disappointment, but I'm chuffed personally".
Back came United, and Rooney slid a ball through to Anthony Martial, whose strike was turned behind by Petr Cech - and before 10 minutes had been played there was another opening as Aaron Ramsey shot low and De Gea made an outstanding save.
United should really win the Europa League, given their semi-final lead over Celta Vigo and the fact a younger and much lesser-resourced Ajax are likely to be in the final, but it is still something of a risk to so openly prioritise the competition at the expense of games like this against a very beatable Arsenal. The second leg is at Old Trafford on Thursday and Mourinho has suggested the European competition, which offers a place in the Champions League for the victor, is his priority for the remainder of the season.
The second half was trundling along at the same, fairly pedestrian pace before two goals in the space of three minutes dropped victory into Arsenal's lap. By failing to score, they maintained their dismal run of failing to register a goal away from home against any of the current top six this season.
Despite this win Arsenal still find themselves on the sixth spot, but they have narrowed the difference with United and now trail by just two points.
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