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Monday 17 December 2018

Jose fuming as Reds face race to land late signing

NEW BOY: Manchester United’s Fred in action against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Photo: REUTERS/Andreas Gebert
NEW BOY: Manchester United’s Fred in action against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. Photo: REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

Jose Mourinho has warned Manchester United face a "difficult season" if they do not strengthen their squad before the transfer window shuts on Thursday.

United's build-up to the new campaign has been dominated by Mourinho's clear frustration over transfers, which has brought his relationship with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward into the spotlight.

The only arrivals into Old Trafford this summer have been Brazilian midfielder Fred, teenage full-back Diogo Dalot and back-up goalkeeper Lee Grant, leaving Mourinho to cast envious glances at how his rivals are shaping up for the new Premier League season.

The Portuguese boss told MUTV ahead of his side's 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Sunday night: "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."

Mourinho and Woodward have been urged to put their heads together and bring the good times back to United by the club's former chief executive Peter Kenyon.

Kenyon was a key figure at United during the glory years of Alex Ferguson and has watched from a distance as the Red Devils have struggled to land the league title for the past five years.

Kenyon acknowledges things have yet to click two years into Mourinho's reign, but does believe it can happen.

"They have to work it out and they'll find a way of working it out," he told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek.

"United is bigger than anybody, bigger than any individual, and that's always been the mantra.

"It will get worked out and I would hope Jose is part of that working it out because he is incredibly skilled and he's demonstrated he can do things.

Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng pictured during training. Photo: REUTERS/Michael Dalder
Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng pictured during training. Photo: REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Mourinho brought on academy prospects James Garner, Axel Tuanzebe, Tahith Chong and Demetri Mitchell during the second-half of the game in Germany and at full-time, the Portuguese compared his youthful team to the raft of talent at Bayern's disposal, including experienced players such as Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben.

"Finally, it's over. Finally, such a difficult pre-season is over," he said. "The players were brilliant. They could not have done better than what they did. Fantastic experience for the boys.

"There was a moment I was looking to the area and there was Axel at centre-back to left, Demetri at left wing-back, Garner in midfield on the left and Chong.

"At the same time it was Lewandowski on Axel, Robben on Mitchell, (Leon) Goretzka on Garner and (Niklas) Sule on Chong.

"It was fantastic, absolutely fantastic. We were playing against their best team, it was their complete squad apart from Tolisso."

Mourinho, who has been linked with moves for Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld and Leicester centre-back Harry Maguire before the window closes, selected Alexis Sanchez as captain in Bavaria.

Reports in Germany on Sunday claimed United have also expressed an interest in Bayern defender Jerome Boateng.

Forward Marcus Rashford donned the No 10 shirt, with the club later confirming he would keep the squad number, previously worn by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney, for the coming season.

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"Yeah, he wanted it. He always wanted it," Mourinho said of Rashford's switch from 19 to 10.

"Of course, he respected the big Rooney and then Zlatan wanted to have it.

"He was in the shadow, waiting for the opportunity and now the shirt is empty. It's something fantastic for the kid, let's give the shirt to him."

Javi Martinez scored the only goal of the game, heading home from a second-half corner.

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