Jose Mourinho has told his Manchester United players to improve their “inconsistent” attitudes and close the gap on Manchester City.

Mourinho believes a better mental approach will further United’s chances of returning to the top of the Premier League after Pep Guardiola’s City stormed to the title.

United eased past Bournemouth 2-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday, taking a step closer to securing a second-placed finish.

And Mourinho said that although they had improved this year, more work remains to be done.

“The change has to be based on their attitude, their mentality,” he said. “This season of course was a much better season in the Premier League for us than the last one — the last one we finished sixth.

“We are quite safe now in the top four and we have a big chance to finish second. We already have more points than at the end of last season.

“But we need to be more consistent in our approach. I know why you win, I know why you don’t win. OK, no doubts about City’s quality, and that in any circumstances they would win this title because they are the better [team].

“I’ve spoken with my players — I think we are inconsistent. And we are inconsistent many times in our attitude.

“We didn’t lose points in the duels against direct opponents, we lost points against teams that were promoted. And we’ve lost points against teams that are probably going to be relegated.

“We were not consistent, and we’ve paid the price.”

Mourinho made seven changes from Sunday’s 1-0 home loss to West Brom for the game at Bournemouth, and said further alterations would follow for Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal against Tottenham.

“Obviously I’m going to change the team. I made changes, I gave a rest to [Nemanja] Matic and [Antonio] Valencia,” he said.

“All the players told me they are here, they want to play [on Saturday].”