Andy Cole has suggested that Jose Mourinho will need something special if he must stand a chance of winning the Premier League in his first season at Manchester United.
The self-proclaimed Special One conjured up domestic titles in his debut campaigns at Porto, Inter and Chelsea, and has been tasked with rebuilding United after replacing the sacked Louis van Gaal.
But Cole thinks expectation levels at Old Trafford need to be kept in check ahead of the new season.
He told BBC Radio Manchester: “If Jose Mourinho comes to Man Utd and wins [the Premier League] in the first season I think that would be like Dynamo the magician.
“It would be fantastic. He’s under no illusions how tough it’s going to be to come to Man Utd and try and win the Premier League the first season.”
Cole, though, insists a return to the Champions League – United finished fifth last term – is essential under Mourinho.
The club legend said: “Fingers crossed we have a better season than we did last season.
“Finishing in the top four has got to be a must. New manager and new players as well, it should be a good season.”
United start their pre-season campaign at Wigan Athletic on Saturday before jetting off to China to face Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City in the International Champions Cup.
Cole thinks the decision to face such high-profile opposition will stand Mourinho’s men in good stead.
“It’s pre-season – you’ve got to get up to speed,” he said. “When it comes to playing in good competition games in pre-season, that’s the test you want.
“You don’t want to be winning games 10-0 in pre-season. You want a good stern test and they’ll get that this pre-season.”