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Manchester United aim to defy Mourinho's doubts in Premier League opener

10 August 2018
Manchester United aim to defy Mourinho's doubts in Premier League opener

Last season may have been United's highest finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired but the 19-point gap to runaway Premier League champions Manchester City underlined the improvements required.

Chelsea shattered the world record fee for a goalkeeper with an 80-million euro (£71.6 million, $92 million) swoop for Athletic Bilbao's Kepa Arrizabalaga on Wednesday to replace Belgian global Thibaut Courtois, who has joined European champions Real Madrid.

United's boss, about to begin his third season at the helm at Old Trafford, has cut a disgruntled figure during the summer, apparently unhappy with the club's transfer window activity.

As part of that deal, Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic has also joined Chelsea on a season-long loan deal.

Chelsea winger Willian, though supposedly happy at Chelsea, has revealed that he's targeting a reunion with former manager Jose Mourinho. I think with Leicester it's a little bit different because I think Maguire, Vardy and Schmeichel returned back (late).

"I do not trust that new players will arrive and I'm not confident in that so now I will only focus on the players I have", he said. "I am here to win", said the Argentine.

Fabinho and Naby Keita will add extra dynamism and depth to the midfield, while Xherdan Shaqiri offers better back-up to the prolific front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.

Mourinho's squad should be boosted by the return of World Cup victor Paul Pogba, who arrived back at Carrington on Monday, and Anthony Martial, who did not travel to Munich for the friendly against Bayern after leaving the US tour and missing more than a week of training to attend the birth of his son in Paris.

Mauricio Pochettino feels it is a "massive challenge" to manage the workload of Tottenham's World Cup stars in the early weeks of the new Premier League season. "In Championship Manager you can just press a button".

A 4-1 defeat followed at the hands of Premier League rivals Liverpool before a win against Champions League winners Real Madrid, followed by a second loss to Bayern Munich. The Croatian wants to keep Boateng at the Allianz Arena next season, although a switch to Paris Saint-Germain this summer is still believed to be on the cards.

A club-record fee of 20 million pounds was also splashed on powerful Spanish winger Adama Traore and versatile Belgian global Leander Dendoncker was snapped up from Anderlecht.

His strained relationship with Mourinho has not helped, but his performances for France at the World Cup showed what he can do if the circumstances are right.