Jose Mourinho believes Leicester City have found their mojo again under Craig Shakespeare this season, but the Manchester United boss does not expect them to be Premier League title contenders.
The Foxes produced one of the greatest stories in the history of English football in 2015-16 as they won a top-flight title for the first time, while the likes of United and Chelsea floundered.
Their Premier League defence did not go to plan, though, and Leicester – having sacked title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri – had to battle just to preserve their status in the first tier.
Two games into the 2017-18 season and Leicester have one win and one defeat in the league, although their opening 4-3 loss to Arsenal still had plenty of positives until their late collapse.
Mourinho will welcome them to Old Trafford on Saturday and expects a much tougher match than their first two, which were both won 4-0.
“I think they are the same team as they were two seasons ago,” Mourinho told a media conference on Friday.
“Are they going to be champions again? Honestly, I don’t think so because there are many teams that I don’t think all of them are going to fail.
“But I think in terms of their qualities, I think they are the same team and they are playing exactly the same way they played before.
“The game against Arsenal ended with a defeat but could have ended with a victory. At home, they won comfortably [against Brighton and Hove Albion], midweek [against Sheffield United in the EFL Cup] they changed their whole team and they won very comfortably with players that probably, some of them they are not even going to be on the bench tomorrow.
“So, I think they are back to their normality and, for me, their normality is a very difficult match for us tomorrow.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 25, 2017
United are also a different proposition this season with the addition of Romelu Lukaku already paying dividends as Mourinho’s side have blown away West Ham and Swansea City.
It is not just the Belgium international who is impressing his manager, though, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan also earning praise after four assists.
“I think Henrikh understands me, and to be honest, I understand him because in the beginning of [last] season if he understands me better, he would have started better,” Mourinho added
“But at the same time, if I understand him better, I would probably help him in a faster way than I did.
“But, we spent our time together, working together, learning [about] each other. The second part of last season was good for him and I believe with his talent that this season is going to be even better.”
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