Manchester United’s transfer woes in pre-season has left Jose Mourinho feeling more like a head coach than a manager as his targets were reportedly vetoed.
United were linked with several new players in various positions across the pitch during the close-season, but in the end only Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant arrived.
Media speculation on Thursday suggested the reason United had not been as active as expected was down to the club’s hierarchy overruling Mourinho on his primary targets.
And the Portuguese seemed to confirm those reports after Friday’s unimpressive 2-1 win over Leicester City in the Premier League’s opening game of the 2018-19 season, a campaign he predicts will be “difficult” for his squad.
“I think football is changing and probably football managers should be called head coaches. I think we are more the head coach than the manager,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“It will be a difficult season for everybody.
“For us, it will be a difficult season because I had my plans, and I had my plans for many months, and I started the Premier League season without a situation I thought was possible.”
United’s performance on Friday failed to build on Paul Pogba’s early penalty, as they were dominated by Leicester for spells before Luke Shaw scored an all-important second goal in the closing minutes.
Mourinho drew issue with the limit of three substitutes after his side were forced to hold on following Jamie Vardy’s header in added time, suggesting he needed to make as many as six changes during proceedings.
“Mr. [Richard] Scudamore [the Premier League’s executive chairman] must be happy,” he said. “It’s a good way to start the Premier League. A good match.
“A match where I needed six changes, not three. I want to play [Anthony] Martial, but I can’t. Paul Pogba can’t play 90 minutes, Fred the same. I need more changes.
“It was not easy to manage the game from the touchline, but I told the players we had good periods, lots of glimpses of the type of football we wanted to play.
“Leicester were strong in periods but we coped with that as a team.”