JOSE Mourinho believes Reading FC are on a par with the majority of Premier League sides ahead of their FA Cup clash.

Royals face Mourinho’s Red Devils at Old Trafford in January in a repeat of the 2017 third-round tie which United won 4-0.

And while Reading may be languishing in 21st place in the table with fours win from 20, Mourinho – perhaps playing mind games – was keen to talk up Clement’s side in the wake of Monday night’s televised draw.

Three-time Premier League winner Mourinho said: “I think the Championship teams are much better than before.

“They are very, very, very similar teams, not just in the potential but the way they play, to many Premier League teams.

“So, to play against Reading, is no different, to me, to playing against the majority of Premier League teams.”

A date for the fixture is yet to be announced, though all third-round ties will take place between Friday, January 4 and Monday, January 7.

Mourinho added: “It’s good to play at home, obviously, yes. One less game to travel to with so many matches.

“It's better to play in your stadium with two-thirds of our fans so that's a positive draw, but it's not an easy opponent.”

In the meantime, under-pressure Clement is preparing his squad for a tough home fixture against Sheffield United this Saturday (5.30pm ko).

Royals salvaged a 2-2 home draw against Stoke City last week thanks to an injury-time equaliser from Mo Barrow.