Manchester United Premier League season 17-18 preview: Martin Keown's guide

Big-spending Guardiola leads chase of Chelsea

Mourinho won the league in his second seasons at Porto, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, as well as in both of his stints at Chelsea, but he expects this season's title race to be an almighty scrap.

The United manager had outlined four positions he wanted to strengthen in to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward at the start of the transfer window, but only Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic have arrived at Old Trafford. "I think it is the objective of every one of the top teams and every one of the top team managers", he said.

Stopping short of a guarantee, Mourinho believes an encouraging pre-season and success in the Europa League last season can propel his side to further success. But there were too many draws.

We had lots of dominance at home, we had lots of chances, we had lots of matches where the result could or should be 2-0 or 3-0 and in the end was 1-1. That's really hard these days.

"Normally the second season should be better than the first because you know the club, you know the players".

But what of his remarkable second-season record and what it might mean for the looming campaign?

The City line-up for their 1-0 win was all-British but the eleven who will take the field on Saturday will be drawn from around the world - with even more global talent having been recruited during the close-season.

"We are in a position to do quality work better than we did in the first season, so I am convinced - it is not just a hope, I am convinced - that our second season, in terms of the quality of our team, is going to be better".

Brighton have been busy in the transfer market themselves since securing promotion from the Championship after two excellent seasons for Chris Hughton's team.

"It takes time, I know that from experience of going to United at a young age".

Mourinho has been boosted by David de Gea staying and feels United's rivals will be more tied up with European commitments this season. The great United teams have all contained superb strikers and Lukaku's goals can fuel a title challenge.

Arsene Wenger's men allowed their opponents to take 432 shots against them last season, which was sixth best in the league and well below City, who topped that category by only allowing 301. There is so much more in his locker and he will be bullying centre halves all over the Premier League.

"We have added three players, one defender, one midfielder and one attacking player", the Portuguese boss explained. We always had that.

Mourinho does not want his other attacking players to be as reliant on the Belgian as they were on Ibrahimovic last season - an obvious deficiency as not one player scored more than six goals apart from the Swede.

"What I had in other clubs was more players scoring goals, what we had was midfielders, wingers scoring, central defenders scoring goals at set pieces", Mourinho said.

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