(repeats adding PREVIEW, PIX to slug, no change to story)
LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho has taken a swipe at Manchester United’s detractors a day ahead of his side’s Premier League opener at home to Leicester City.
United’s boss, about to begin his third season at the helm at Old Trafford, has cut a disgruntled figure during the summer, apparently unhappy with the club’s transfer window activity.
Mourinho sounded pessimistic that he would make any last-minute signings when talking to media on Thursday.
“I’m not confident, I’m not confident and the market closes today, so is time at least for me to stop thinking about the market because the market will be closed,” Mourinho said.
“I will have to focus on the players I have and in relation to this first couple of matches.”
But he was quick to point out his United side were closest to runaway leaders Manchester City last season, even if they finished 19 points adrift.
“My view is that, first of all, is difficult for me to believe we finished second,” he said.
“When I listen, when I read, not much but sometimes I do, is difficult to believe that we finished second, because you are capable of making people that finish second look like they were relegated, and people who win nothing, finish below us, and you make them look like serial winners.
“Is difficult for me to understand, to feel, to believe 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.”
Mourinho, who will be without the likes of Nemanja Matic, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo on Friday, once again bemoaned the lack of preparation time for the start of the season, with many of his players having just returned to training after taking time off following the World Cup.
“The target is Leicester match and the tactics to be changed in Championship Manager you can just press a button,” he said.
“In football you need time to work and players on the pitch to work and we didn’t have until now.
“I told that during pre-season it looked like I was saying something absolutely out of order, something crazy, I repeat and maybe tomorrow the reaction is the same: Pre-season difficult when you don’t have your players to work, as simple as that.” (Reporting by Martyn Herman Editing by David Holmes)