Manchester United are now genuine title contenders, insists Joe Mourinho

Richard Dunne in action for Manchester City

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Michael Carrick believes "things are on the up" at Manchester United ahead of the club's opening game of the season against West Ham.

Mourinho goes into his second season at Old Trafford needing significant improvement in the Premier League after United finished sixth in May. But there are not many like that, just a couple.

"When I got the call that Matic wants to play for me and wants to play for Manchester United this season and we can make it happen, I thought it's the flawless player for me". It's not just for his qualities but my relation with him and the way I know him'. I would jokingly call him "King Poverty Basher".

With great interest is expected to fight for the title of top scorer in the Premier League.

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. He's a player who gives me what I like, which is consistency.

"Matic is Matic and that's something that I really like in a player".

But beneath the unsmiling eyes shone an optimism about the season which was hard to hide from the questioning media.

With United unable to make the breakthrough, the trophy went to Blackburn instead.

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Having been accused last season of being too downbeat and complaining about his lonely life in Manchester, Mourinho enters 2017-18 cutting a different figure.

"We have had a better pre-season than a year ago and we have the confidence levels of a team that has won a European competition and returned to the Champions League".

"It would be better to lose two or three matches but win three or four more matches, and then we would have six to eight more points".

"It was certainly a position that Manchester United as a team needed to strengthen, and they've gone and done it with Matic".

"I don't think I am going to win it because I always win it in the second season".

The game will pit Jose Mourinho against Slaven Bilic, with the home side keen to make a strong start to their title challenge and the visitors keen to claim an early scalp.

"Conte likes to work the tactical and the physical part". Give everything. And then normally the results are a good effect of that work. He also seems confident in going to war with what he has this Premier League season.

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.

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