José Mourinho is under a certain amount of pressure this season at Manchester United, albeit pressure he has brought on himself. At his previous clubs he has always managed to win the title in his second season and at his present one there is an expectation of something a little more dynamic than finishing sixth in the table and qualifying for the Champions League via the Europa competition.
Naturally the manager denies it. In fact before Sunday’s opener at home to West Ham he even admitted to looking forward to the season with the quality he now has at his disposal. “The only thing I have to do is work every day like I always do, the only demand on me is the one I put on myself. I don’t put any extra pressure on myself because I always give everything, then normally the results are a good consequence of that work. My dedication to my job is always at the maximum, even more now than when I started, and I believe at the end of the season we will see the results. With these players I am looking forward to the season with optimism, with enthusiasm, I can’t wait for the Champions League to start and the chance to play the top clubs. I am on fire.”
Mourinho can rarely be accused of underselling himself or his clubs, though even in combustible mode he still bore a message for his employers as well as the nation’s back pages, congratulating the United board on securing 75% of the transfer targets he outlined early in the window. The point he is making is that the other 25% of intended business remains to be completed. Mourinho requested four new players, United have bought him three.
Speculation that Danny Rose is the player still at large after United’s expensive captures of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof only intensified when the Tottenham full-back spoke of wanting to move back north, though Mourinho batted that subject away with a carefully phrased answer. “I think I should not comment because Mauricio [Pochettino] would not be…