Jose Mourinho has hailed Harry Maguire after Manchester United’s £80m newcomer enjoyed a dream start in their 4-0 win over Chelsea.
On a day of debuts at Old Trafford on Sunday, three-time Premier League winner Mourinho made his first appearance as part of the Sky Sports team while Maguire, the world’s most expensive defender, marked his first outing for Manchester United with a man-of-the-match performance at the heart of their defence.
“He fully deserved the award, he was solid like a rock,” declared Mourinho.
Maguire made more interceptions, tackles and blocks than any other player on the pitch and Mourinho believes his presence could be a regular game-changer for his team-mates.
“You can be very dangerous in attack but if you feel that a mistake is around the corner it takes your confidence away and you don’t play as well. When you feel there is something that allows you to play you are much more confident.
“As I always said Lindelof can be a very good player. With Maguire it can be a very good partnership.”
Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James were on the scoresheet as United enjoyed a rollicking opening-weekend victory.
“It is an amazing result,” said Mourinho. “I must stick to my opinion: they will not be champions. But they can have a good season.”
Yet while Mourinho was full of praise for United, he described Chelsea’s display as “too soft” after Frank Lampard suffered a heavy defeat on his Premier League managerial bow.
“They were not compact defensively and there wasn’t enough aggression on the ball. The defensive line was never compact,” said Mourinho.
Mourinho continued: “My feeling is that today they had the possibility to play with more know-how.
“Alonso, Kante and Giroud were on the bench. To come to Old Trafford, even if it’s not the huge Manchester United team that used to scare people, it’s still Manchester United, it’s the first match at home, first match of the season, people are excited. A little bit of experience would fit well with the team.
“You look at the performance of Mount, Abraham and Christensen and I think for matches of this dimension you need a little bit more.”
Mourinho names title contenders
A serial winner across Europe and in English football, Mourinho guided Chelsea to the Premier League title on three occasions across two spells in West London.
Asked to identify the contenders for this season’s Premier League title, Mourinho replied: “Four: Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool and Man City’s B team.
“When I look at the images of the bench yesterday [when champions Manchester City won 5-0 at West Ham] and even some of the players who were not involved, they could fight for the title.
“Independent of what happens today, even if one of the team plays magnificently and has a fantastic result, I don’t believe they are going to be in the title race.
“And it is also difficult for me, despite them having some good players, to see Arsenal in a title race. But I think Tottenham has to join it.”