Jose Mourinho has watched as most of the Premier League’s other top-six sides have spent big money to acquire lavish reinforcements this summer, while Manchester United have done little to improve upon last season’s second-place finish.
[ MORE: 2018-19 Premier League previews ]
So little, in fact, that Mourinho foresees the upcoming season — which kicks off against Leicester City on Friday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com) — being a “difficult” one if further signings aren’t made before the transfer window closes on Thursday. Midfielder Fred, who arrived for a reported fee of $67 million, is the only first-team player signed this window.
Speaking after his side’s 1-0 preseason defeat to Bayern Munich, Mourinho went public with his desires, putting CEO Ed Woodward on red alert — quotes from the Guardian:
“My CEO knows what I want and I still have a few days to wait and see what happens. The other clubs who compete with us are really strong and already have fantastic teams. Or they are investing massively like Liverpool, who are buying everything and everybody. If we don’t make our team better, it will be a difficult season for us.”
At this point, Mourinho is just grumpy after a preseason full of trials and tribulations. A number of key players were unavailable until this week, as their post-World Cup breaks lasted into August — something he has spent plenty of time complaining about — and he’s absolutely right that the 2018-19 campaign could be a difficult one at Old Trafford, particularly if the Red Devils start as slow as their preseason preparations indicate they could.
So, Mourinho’s instinctual reaction is to begin shifting blame before things go wrong — he must be proactive in building his backstory — while also lowering the bar that he himself must clear in order to be absolved of responsibility for future failures.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time Mourinho has made comments with these very intentions, and it almost certainly won’t be the last.