Jose Mourinho

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Mourinho looks to pile title pressure on Chelsea

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A week ago, just before their 2017/18 Premier League season began, Antonio Conte declared Chelsea to be an underdog for the title. It’s right not to put Chelsea to be a favorite,” Conte said.

Jose Mourinho disagrees.

Looking to deflect pressure away from his Manchester United squad, Mourinho declared Chelsea to not only be the favorites to win the Premier League this season and defend their title, but proclaimed it would be a massive disappointment if they didn’t.

[ MORE: Liverpool in an advantageous position regarding Coutinho ]

To Mourinho, the simple fact that Chelsea won last season means they should consider themselves the team to beat going forward. “For me the favorite is the champion,” Mourinho said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Manchester United’s game against Swansea City on Saturday. “Always. Because for some reason [they were] the champion. It doesn’t mean you are going to win it – I think it is the stamp that you have when you are champion, it is that the next season you are the favorite.”

Chelsea seems to have a depth issue at the moment, with injuries plaguing the squad. New signing Tiemoue Bakayoko leaves a big hole in midfield, especially with Nemanja Matic sold to the Red Devils. In addition, Gary Cahill and Pedro will miss time in the near future with suspensions, while superstar Eden Hazard remains out as he recovers from a broken ankle.

Despite all the missing players, Mourinho believes that Chelsea always comes through in the transfer window, and that will solve their problems. “If they have [depth problems], in a couple of weeks the problems are over. They have very good teams, very good players and I don’t see any reason for them not to be fighting for the title.”

Manchester United next meets Chelsea on November 5th in Premier League action at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho: Manchester United flying at final whistle

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Jose Mourinho didn’t want to sound too positive after Manchester United’s sterling performance on Opening Day, but he couldn’t help himself.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 4-0 West Ham ]

While saying the match was more difficult than it looked, admitting that West Ham did come close to making it 2-1 through Marko Arnautovic, Mourinho said his side was humming at the final whistle.

“At 2-nil they had a chance and I don’t think the game (goes to) 4-nil,” Mourinho said. “Then of course we scored the third goal, you breathe and you relax but probably if you play 10 more minutes, more goals.”

He said United’s start of the match wasn’t what he wanted, but downplayed the lively post-match tenor of, well, everyone else. From the BBC:

“The fact we start winning and are top, it means nothing. The performance and the levels of confidence is what means a lot to me.”

United center back Phil Jones joined NBC’s broadcast crew on the Old Trafford pitch after the game, and said the side accomplished its goals for Opening Day.

“It was well-documented last season that we didn’t pick up as many points as we should’ve at home for whatever reason. It was important for us and the fans to feel and get some positive vibes at the start of the season.”

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Finally, hero Romelu Lukaku bagged a brace and said United fans can expect more of the same from Mourinho’s crew (from the BBC):

“The fans want to see attractive football and we have to stick to that. They will be pleased today. It is just the start, we need to keep working to the manager’s plan.”

Manchester United 4-0 West Ham United: Lukaku delivers the goods

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  • Lukaku scores in each half
  • Martial, Pogba score late
  • Mkhitaryan with two assists
  • Last goal pushes United top

Romelu Lukaku made a huge first impression for Manchester United in the Premier League, and the Red Devils were delightful in a 4-0 win over visiting West Ham United at Old Trafford.

Anthony Martial had a goal and an assist, Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a pair of assists, and Paul Pogba also scored for United. The Red Devils are off to Swansea next week, while West Ham stays on the road and faces Southampton.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The name of the game’s early stages was grit, as hard tackles dotted a landscape of frenetic movement.

United came close to scoring in the 18th minute, and West Ham’s back line did well to stop a prone Romelu Lukaku from testing Joe Hart.

Paul Pogba spied Juan Mata in the 27th minute, and the Spaniard looked set to square a ball for a Lukaku goal, but Angelo Ogbonna was on the scene to deny the chance.

A goal was coming to Old Trafford, and Lukaku provided it. The build-up was impressive, as Nemanja Matic broke up a spell of West Ham possession to spring Marcus Rashford

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

It was Lukaku again after the break, scoring a 53rd minute header off a Henrikh Mkhitaryan and United was well on its way.

Marko Arnautovic nearly snapped the Irons back into the match with a header over Daley Blind, but it moved just over the bar.

It was back to business for United after that, and Rashford saw a curling beauty just miss and clatter off the far post.

Martial came into the game late and did not disappointing, running onto a Mkhitaryan through ball to beat Joe Hart, and then setting up Pogba to do the same.

Mourinho: Man Utd, Zlatan “having conversations” about return

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United is in talks with Zlatan Ibrahimovic about the striker playing again for the club.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — A wild return for the top flight! ]

The 35-year-old Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals before a serious knee injury brought his first season at Old Trafford to a halt in April.

Ibrahimovic was let go at the end of his one-year contract, but the Swede is undergoing rehabilitation at United ahead of his expected return to fitness in December.

[ MORE: Sunday’s PL preview — Man Utd begin title quest vs. Chicharito ]

“He’s injured. He needs time to recover,” United manager Jose Mourinho said on Friday. “He’s not ready to play tomorrow. It’s not something urgent, it’s nothing that you are desperate to have it done or not done.

“I just think that he was very clear by showing that what he did last year was not enough for him. He thinks he can do more. He wants more at football’s highest level, so we are having conversations and we are discussing the possibility of him staying with us for the second part of the season.”

Bale, Mourinho react to Man Utd transfer links

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Real Madrid star Gareth Bale was not allowed to relish his side’s UEFA Super Cup win over Manchester United for too long.

Bale was quizzed on his future soon after Real topped the Red Devils 2-1 in Macedonia on Tuesday, and tried to brush aside the idea of leaving the club he joined in 2013.

[ MORE: Recap | Mourinho reacts ]

On Monday, Mourinho claimed he’d meet Bale at the airport if Real made the Welshman available for transfer. Bale’s starting role in the Super Cup changed those thoughts:

“Clearly the club want him, the manager wants him and he wants the club. Clearly game over. I think everyone knows he is going to stay.”

Bale has almost been at the Bernabeu for as long as he was at White Hart Lane. The recently-minted 28-year-old had this to say following the win.

Real hasn’t had any transfer conversations with Bale, according to the player.

“I’m just concentrating on my football and I’m not listening to anything. I’m not reading anything, although people tell me bits and bobs. I’m enjoying my football and playing as much as a I can and winning trophies.”

Bale’s name has been floated as a sale option in order to raise money to buy Kylian Mbappe from Monaco, but Real has also moved out James Rodriguez on loan and getting rid of Bale would hit their depth while pursuing a third-straight UCL title. No one’s done that since Bayern in 1976.