Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho said both he and his club are "not as bad as people think" after fighting back to win 3-2 at Manchester City and postpone their local rivals' Premier League title party on Saturday.
Despite United's dramatic win, City are still likely to win the title with a 13-point lead atop the table, and an understated Mourinho said it was important to him that United hold on to second place.
"We are doing a better season than last season -- more points, more victories, more goals, less goals conceded," Mourinho said. "Everything is better for us, but is not enough because [City] had this season of 'don't stop winning.'
"But we are not the team that people think we are. We are not as bad as people think we are. I am not such a bad manager as some people think I am. The players are not so bad as people think they are.
"And that's what we are going tor try to prove, that we are the second best in the country."
City seemed to be cruising to the crown as they went in at the break with a 2-0 lead, but United conjured an extraordinary response led by two-goal Paul Pogba and crowned by Chris Smalling's winner.
Asked about United's slow start, Mourinho added: "I was really sad with the first goal and I think it is the third corner they scored against us this season.
"Then with the second it was important for the players to keep confident. We moved the ball, more than any team has against Manchester City. We pressed a bit higher and we keep the shape to get a good result.
"I think mathematically we need six points to stay in the top four and this win is part of that tonight."
And though City will not be able to lift the trophy this weekend, Mourinho said he still congratulated Guardiola after the game, and applauded his opponents for their title-calibre form all season.
"Our challenge is to finish second but I want to congratulate City for the title because they are going to win and deservedly," Mourinho said. "They gave no chance to the others because they had this season of don't stop winning.
"My objective here was to get points and not spoil any celebrations. The point is can we improve enough to catch them next season?"
Pogba's fine performance came a day after City manager Pep Guardiola claimed on Friday that Pogba's agent, Mino Raiola, offered him the chance to sign the Frenchman two months ago. Sources close to United have since said they would not consider selling Pogba to their local rivals.
"I'm really pleased for him," Mourinho said on Pogba, before adding with a smile: "If it's true that his agent offered him to some clubs, now the price has gone up."