Worry for Man Utd fans as Jose Mourinho says team not ready for top-level performance
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho feels the kind of fairytale Leicester produced in winning the Premier League could only happen in English football - and that elite clubs elsewhere in Europe are more than happy with that.
The United manager has also sent a worrying message to the club's fans as he doesn't feel his team are yet capable of producing their best on the field.
The Foxes, who face United in Sunday's Community Shield match at Wembley, created shockwaves last season as they became top-flight champions for the first time in their history.
And Mourinho said on Friday ahead of the game: "This is the only country where everybody wants this to happen, and it's the only country where the football structures allow this to happen.
"In other countries the powerful clubs don't want this to happen - they don't want to share the money, the television rights.
"In the other countries they want to be comfortable and know that they are always the top clubs, in the Champions League. They want it to be a competition of two, three or four and, if possible, just a competition of one. This is a special country.
"Around Europe you have people who when you listen to them it looks like they are the Mother Teresa in football - but they aren't.
"You go to many countries and clearly they are happy the way they are. It's not just about them being powerful, it's also going to the clubs that can be direct competition for them and every season steal the best players.
"They don't want a league. In this country everyone wants a league and this allows an amazing story like the Leicester one, which brings even more credibility to the Premier League. It is why the Premier League is the Premier League."
Mourinho's comments on Leicester's achievement are particularly interesting given it was his Chelsea side who were replaced by the Foxes as champions.
The Portuguese has returned to the Premier League with United this summer after a terrible start by the Blues to their title defence last season led to his sacking in December - three days on from a 2-1 defeat to Leicester.
Regarding the Foxes' prospects this term, the Portuguese is confident the men managed by his fellow former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri will cope with the demands upon them, and has wished them well.
"I think it will be a different season for them but I think they can cope with the situation," Mourinho said.
"They have a new experience playing in the Champions League, which changes the profile of their season.
"But they have a better squad, they've bought players, the manager is good and experienced - I think they can cope. I hope they can cope. I wish everything goes well for them."
Meanwhile, Mourinho has admitted his own group of players - which could soon include Paul Pogba - are not yet ready to deliver a top-level performance, but has backed them to be in "good condition" for United's Premier league opener at Bournemouth a week on Sunday.
When asked if he was confident his players would be fully fit for that match, Mourinho said: "If you're talking about being at the top of your performance level, then not at all. Not individually and even less collectively.
"But if being fit means no injuries, or only a small number of injuries and people ready to play at a good level, then I think so.
"Next week will be a good working week for us. Monday is a day off and then we play Sunday. So we have from Tuesday to Sunday, one more week of work. So I think we are going to arrive in a good condition."