MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho says Victor Lindelof needs time to adapt to the Premier League after omitting the £31 million signing from the Manchester United squad on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.
Lindelof, signed from Benfica this summer, watched from the stands as United began their league campaign with a 4-0 win over West Ham at Old Trafford.
It was a good day for fellow new arrivals Romelu Lukaku, who bagged a brace, and Nemanja Matic, who was named Man of the Match.
Mourinho went with Phil Jones and Eric Bailly as his centre-back pairing with Chris Smalling named on the bench, and the United boss said afterwards that Lindelof, who started the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid last week, is not yet ready for his Premier League bow.
"I think Real Madrid was too early for him," he told a news conference. "He played because Jones and Bailly were both suspended. I had players coming from different leagues to the Premier League and normally it is not easy. The difference with Lukaku and Matic is that they have years of experience of the Premier League.
"I brought in 2004 a phenomenal central defender to England, Ricardo Carvalho. He was one of the best central defenders in the last decade of the Premier League, but he struggled. It was difficult for him to adapt in the beginning.
"I think Victor needs time, a little bit of time. He's going to have that time. [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan is not a defender and last season he needed this time. So step by step because Victor is a fantastic player."