José Mourinho believes Manchester United can win the title, despite starting the season at a similar level to last summer – with the arrivals of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof offset by injuries to Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young.
United play West Ham at Old Trafford on Sunday and Mourinho has all his new signings available but is without last season’s top scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede suffered a serious knee injury in April and is out of contract.
United finished sixth last season but did qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League. Asked about their ambitions, Mourinho said: “Yes we can win [the Premier League]. The Champions League is obviously more difficult. But also the motivation is higher. My work last season to face teams in the Europa League with commitment was hard, this season it is not hard to motivate for playing Real Madrid, Barcelona, the top English teams, Bayern Munich and Juventus.
“In the Premier League I’d say seven teams will fight for the title and 20 fight for the victory in every game, every match. That’s different to the three other leagues [Portugal, Italy and Spain] I have worked in. Every opponent wants to win every match, every opponent gives you a hard time.”
Mourinho wants a fourth addition in a wide position but will not complain if that does not happen. “I was thinking of four players but I am not a difficult person to work with, even if it looks different, or you want to make it look so,” he said. “I understand the reality of the market, of the numbers. My club is doing 75% of what I initially asked very well. I don’t think I am in a position of moaning, crying, contesting or saying I am not happy.”
On the prospect of re-signing Ibrahimovic once the 35-year-old striker has recovered, Mourinho said: “We are having conversations and discussing the possibility of him staying for the second part of the season.”
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