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Ivan Perisic, the Croatia worldwide, also featured prominently on Mourinho's wish list but it now seems that United's summer transfer business will be restricted to the arrivals of Fred, the injured Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant, signed from Stoke City as a third-choice goalkeeper.

Mourinho faced the press ahead of tomorrow's season opener against Leicester City, though the major topic of information was whether or not United would strengthen their squad.

Tottenham Hotspur became the first Premier League club since the summer transfer window began to fail to sign a single player but Mauricio Pochettino said he was happy for the club to "behave differently".

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Ferdinand said: "I'm a United fan, and I want to see them win the title, but I fear it's going to be very hard for that to happen this season".

The 2018/19 season gets under way with Manchester United taking on Leicester City at Old Trafford Friday.

"My view is that first of all it is hard for me to believe that we finished second when I listen, when I read - not much but sometimes I do", the United boss said. It is hard for me to understand we finish second. "I won eight championships and three Premier Leagues but I keep feeling the second last season was one of my biggest achievements in the game".

Pogba still happy at Man Utd, insists Mourinho
The possiblity of Anthony Martial being included is very slim while new signing Fred is expected to start. In the campaign prior to that, United made complete mincemeat of their opponents by beating them 4-1.

As for the main challengers, Neville lists United, Liverpool and Chelsea are the only potential rivals for City's crown.

Sergio Romero, Valencia, Marcos Rojo, Dalot, Ander Herrera and Matic are all injured for Leicester's visit, while Mourinho needs to check on the fitness of those that returned late from the World Cup.

See which players and managers have come and gone.

'I said during pre-season - it looked like I was saying something absolutely out of order, something insane - but I repeat: pre-season is hard when you don't have your players to work, it's as simple as that'.

"I think they need to go out of the Champions League pre Christmas to have a good chance of winning the league".


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