Ahead of their Premier League opener, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is confident his side can maintain his perfect second-season record.
The Portuguese manager won the league title in his second full season in charge of FC Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea again, and feels the sequence can continue.
Stopping short of a guarantee, Mourinho believes an encouraging pre-season and success in the Europa League last season can propel his side to further success.
“It is not because I have always done it (won the league title in his second season) that I am going to do it again,” Mourinho said.
“There is no guarantee but naturally a manager in his second season knows the club and the players better.
“We have had a better pre-season than last year and we have the confidence levels of a team that has won a European competition and returned to the Champions League. I have better conditions to deliver a better season than my first one.”
To achieve domestic success, however, the 54-year-old is aware his side needs a more balanced distribution of scorers.
United scored the least goals of the seven teams to qualify for Europe from the Premier League last season at 54, 32 fewer than the highest in Tottenham.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the lone player to reach double figures in the league with 17, while Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney were the next best with a mere six.
Despite Romelu Lukaku’s arrival, Mourinho knows the Belgian cannot be relied upon solely, and requires more from the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford.
“What I had in other clubs was more players scoring goals, what we had was midfielders, wingers scoring, central defenders scoring goals at set pieces,” Mourinho said.
“We always had more goals with wingers, midfielders getting 10 goals, central defenders getting five goals and last season that did not happen much.
“We were focused on the striker getting goals and when it didn’t happen we were in trouble.”
Manchester United begins its league campaign on Sunday, hosting West Ham.