Jose Mourinho says more players need to chip in with goals this season if Manchester United are to challenge for the Premier League title.
Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield success was a decent return in the Portuguese’s first campaign in the Old Trafford dugout, particularly when it brought Champions League qualification.
However, United finished in sixth place and an eye-watering 24 points behind champions Chelsea - despite losing the same number of Premier League games as Mourinho’s former club.
An unerring knack of drawing matches they dominated proved their undoing, struggling to break teams down when top goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic was absent or stuttered.
Mourinho knows they were over-reliant on the injured ex-Swedish striker’s goals and wants more support for this season’s main man Romelu Lukaku.
“In my other clubs what I had was more players scoring goals,” he said. “Midfield players scoring goals, wingers scoring goals, central defenders good in the air scoring goals at set-pieces.
“We always had that so my teams always had the goalscorer, we always had the guy that scores more goals, but then we had the winger that scored 15 goals, we had the midfield player who scored 10 goals, we had the central defender that scored five goals.
“And last season that didn’t happen much - we were focused on the goals that our striker was scoring and when he was not scoring, the team was a little bit in trouble to win matches.”
Mourinho does not necessarily buy into the idea that more goals are needed, just a fairer spread to help them win more matches.
Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic have been brought into help in to boost their title challenge, with the United boss looking to continue his remarkable record of winning the league in his second campaign in all five spells in charge of a major club.
“It’s not because I always did it that I am going to do it,” the ex-Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid boss said.
“There’s no relation between clubs and countries and seasons and periods, so obviously there is no guarantee. I don’t think I am going to win because I always win in the second season - not at all.
“I just think naturally a manager in the second season knows the players better, knows the club better.
“I don’t say the league because I have been in this league a long time.
“I have conditions to deliver a better team than I did in the first season. If that is going to mean better results and the title, I don’t know.”
Leicester and Chelsea won the previous two Premier League titles in campaigns without European football, while Liverpool’s top-four finish last season came in similar circumstances, but this time around all of last season’s top seven are in the Champions League or Europa League.
“I think everybody is in Europe - the top seven, we are all in Europe,” Mourinho said.
“Last season two were not in Europe. This time we are all in the same basket, it is going to be the same for everybody.
“Okay, some will have the luck to play Tuesday or Wednesday, or Saturday or Sunday, but in the end, the number of matches will be the same for everybody.
“Arsenal and Everton, they are in the Europa League. They have to play on the Thursdays, but the top seven are going to be in the four competitions, so no advantage for any one of us.”
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