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Jose Mourinho makes cryptic Manchester United Premier League title prediction

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MANCHESTER, England -- Jose Mourinho has given a cryptic answer when asked whether his Manchester United team can challenge for the Premier League title this season by simply saying people will see by November.

The United manager predicted a "difficult" campaign if there were no new arrivals before the end of the transfer window and the deadline came and went on Thursday with no movement into Old Trafford.

Asked at a news conference on Thursday whether he had the squad to go head-to-head with Manchester City for the title, Mourinho refused to answer one way or the other.

And the Portuguese coach simply suggested that the first three months of the season would prove whether his warning was right or wrong.

"By the end of November or December, you don't need words, you'll see by then which teams are candidates to win the Premier League," he said.

"At the moment words are not important. Let's play football and see by the end of November or December. You'll see which teams are candidates."

Mourinho spent £68 million to bring in Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant this summer but admitted during the preseason tour of the U.S. he wanted two more additions.

Sources have told ESPN FC the 55-year-old wanted a centre-back and a right winger but nothing materialised in the final weeks of the window.


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It leaves Mourinho to start the season with a squad broadly similar to the one which finished 19 points behind City last season, but he insists he is not as disappointed with options as some may think.

"I have my players and I like my players," he said. "I like to work with my players. One lie repeated 1,000 times is still a lie but the perception of people is that it's true.

"When you repeat 1,000 times that my relationship with my players is not good, it's a lie, repeated 1,000 times is still a lie.

"I like my players and my group. I enjoy the last season, the fight to finish where we finished and to manage the best position in five or six years.

"I'm going to enjoy this season."

United will start their Premier League campaign against Leicester at Old Trafford on Friday night.

Mourinho's squad should be boosted by the return of World Cup winner 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 U.S. tour and missing more than a week of training to attend the birth of his son in Paris.

"Martial didn't have a preseason," said Mourinho. "He didn't have nine days of preseason where no training, no football, absolutely nothing.

"He's in the group of players who didn't have a preseason, it's as simple as that. For nine days he didn't train, so he's to start again.

"He had the first three or four days of training and first couple of matches where he played 40 or 50 minutes.

"When you are nine days without one minute of training or football, you go back and start with the other people."

Pogba, meanwhile, could be on the bench against Leicester despite only training for four days since arriving back in Manchester following his triumph with France in Russia.

Mourinho added: "He arrived Monday, happy, proud. a desire to work.

"He worked amazingly well Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and he's one of the players that I have to speak to see how physically and mentally he feels.

"But it's the same conversation as with [Ashley] Young, [Marouane] Fellaini, [Jesse] Lingard, it's the same.

"To know how they feel physically mentally to try to give us a help, if they feel they can help us, 20 minutes, 10 minutes, half an hour.

"We don't have many solutions and we want to go with everything we have."