Jose Mourinho hints at central midfield role for Victor Lindelöf

Kolo Toure in action for Manchester City

The Spanish striker spent the summer being chased by former manager Jose Mourinho but will start the season in the blue of Chelsea after being priced out of a move to Manchester United.

The Portuguese manager won the league title in his second full season in charge of FC Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea again, and feels the sequence can continue.

But having witnessed first-hand just how hard it has been for clubs to conduct business this summer, Mourinho says he will not be complaining if his squad stays as it is come 31 August.

"There is no relation between others or a guarantee because I always do, but I just think naturally a manger in the second season knows the club and players better".

"You know he's injured, he needs time to recover, he's not ready to play tomorrow", Mourinho said.

"But this is modern football".

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He said: "We were favourites last season and missed out by 15 points, so being favourites this season means nothing".

The United manager had outlined four positions he wanted to strengthen in to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward at the start of the transfer window, but only Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic have arrived at Old Trafford.

He was not offered a new deal at the end of last season after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in April and is likely to be ruled out of action until Christmas.

The former Everton forward will have the pressure of solving Manchester United's goalscoring woes this season.

Mourinho said this week that if Bale didn't play against Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup, he would fight to bring him to the club.

A battering-ram striker in the finest Mourinho traditions, Lukaku's task is to sharpen an attack that mustered only 54 league goals last season. For the Old Trafford club it is a no lose situation, the return of last season's talismanic goal scorer and leader could prove to be a monumental boost in the final stages of the season.

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"I've been waiting for this opportunity".

If the overhaul of City's squad, costing over £200 million, does not deliver silverware there will be further uncomfortable questions for the Spaniard, who finished his first season in English football without a single title.

If they do not succeed again in the league this season, Pep is likely to still have the backing of the City ownership as they have built a long-term plan based around the coach.

The 21-year-old Frenchman faces stiff competition for one of the two or three places in support of Lukaku, with Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard among Mourinho's other options. Mourinho signed the Brazilian for Chelsea back in the summer of 2013, but Willian insists he is happy at Chelsea.

United will open their 2017-18 Premier League campaign with a home date against West Ham on Sunday.

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