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Published: 00:04 | 13/8/16

Mourinho plays down early-season expectations

Jose Mourinho says his Manchester United players are under-prepared for the new Premier League campaign because of the club's pre-season tour schedule.

United started their tour of China with a 4-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai on 23 July, while their scheduled match against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City three days later in Beijing was cancelled due to an unplayable pitch.

United then flew back to Europe for the friendly against Galatasaray in Gothenburg on 30 July, which they won 5-2, and then played out a goalless draw with Everton at Old Trafford in Wayne Rooney's testimonial on 3 August.

The Red Devils' pre-season then ended with the 2-1 Community Shield victory over Premier League champions Leicester City at Wembley last Sunday.

Mourinho says his players are undercooked ahead of the new season because the travelling to China and Europe cut into his pre-season fitness sessions.

"It’s more difficult, especially because pre-seasons are shorter and pre-seasons are less football and more other areas," the Portuguese said ahead of the Premier League opener at Bournemouth on Sunday.

"I want to go into the Premier League, day one, with 33 training sessions and half of these players are not here because the players I started with are the players that are going on loan, other players are going to the under-21 team and the under-18 team.

"Instead of 33 training sessions, which would be the normal situation 10, 15 years ago, I have guys who are going into Premier League day one with eight training sessions.

“You cannot start as a train. You can start good and in condition to win the match. It’s a very difficult match for us but we are in condition to win it but not at the highest intensity. It’s not possible."

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