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‘I like my players and my group’ – Jose Mourinho hits back at ‘lies’ about apparent discord at Manchester United

Jose Mourinho has hit back at the ‘lies’ in the press about the apparent unrest in his Manchester United dressing room ahead of the new season.

It’s been a summer to forget for Jose Mourinho

It’s been a summer to forget for Jose Mourinho

The Red Devils kick off the 2018/19 Premier League campaign on Friday night at home against Leicester City , but will take to the field after a tumultuous summer break.

A near-embarrassing pre-season tour without a host of their star players, the near-constant speculation surrounding Paul Pogba a nd Anthony Martial, plus the failure to land a number of the manager’s key transfer targets have combined to make this summer one to forget for United and Mourinho.

After sealing deals for Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant by early July, the United boss made it clear his desire to bring in two more players.

Mourinho warned it could be a “difficult season” if United did not bring in at least one more face, with a top class centre-back the main focus in a market, but ultimately the club failed to add to their trio of signings.

United were strongly linked with a move to Harry Maguire, but he ended up staying at Leicester

United were strongly linked with a move to Harry Maguire, but he ended up staying at Leicester

There have been rumours of discord within the Red Devils’ ranks throughout the summer, with Martial and Pogba apparently keen to leave following disputes with their manager, while Alexis

Sanchez voiced his disappointment that the club failed to bring more top signings to Old Trafford.

But a peeved Mourinho has dismissed those reports as ‘lies’ and insists he is happy with the squad at his disposal ahead of their season opener.

“I have my players, I like my players, I like to work with my players,” he said in a press conference ahead of Friday evening’s clash against Leicester.

“One lie repeated 1,000 times is still a lie, but the perception of the people is that it’s true but it’s still a lie.

“So, when you repeat 1,000 times that my relationship with my players is not good, it’s a lie that repeated 1,000 times is still a lie.

“But again, the perception of the people that reads can be different, but I like my players and my group.

Mourinho oversees pre-season training

Mourinho oversees pre-season training

“I enjoy the last season, the fight to finish where we finished and to manage the best position in five or six years.

“I’m going to enjoy this season. Again, I know the words you want me to say or not to say.

“It depends on the music, but words for me don’t come easy.

“I think by the end of November or December, you don’t need words – you will see by then which teams are candidates to win the Premier League.

“In this moment, words are not important.

“Let’s play football and by the end of November or December, you don’t need words. You will see which teams are candidates.”

Like many of the Premier League’s top teams, United’s preparations for the news season have been hampered by this summer’s World Cup.

Paul Pogba is being linked with a move away from Manchester United

Getty Images

Paul Pogba is being linked with a move away from Manchester United

Amid links with a move to Barcelona, Paul Pogba appears to be a doubt for the game having only returned from his post-Russia break earlier this week.

But while reports claim the World Cup winner has told his agent he wants to leave for Spain, Mourinho insists Pogba is ready to knuckle down to work in a Red Devils shirt.

“My perception? He arrived Monday, happy, proud, with a desire to work,” the United boss said of the club-record £89million signing.

“He worked amazingly well Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and he’s one of the players that I have to speak to see how physically and mentally he feels.

“But it’s the same conversation as with (Ashley) Young, (Marouane) Fellaini, (Jesse) Lingard, it’s the same. To know how they feel physically, mentally to try to give us a help.”

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