Mourinho bemoans defensive frailty for United's poor start

Jose Mourinho has been left frustrated by the lack of defensive signings this summer

Jose Mourinho has laid the blame for their poor start to the season at the door of the defence – and has admitted that Manchester United cannot play like Manchester City or Liverpool.

The Old Trafford boss insists no-one should be surprised at United’s worst start in 26 years because his central defenders are not up to snuff and complained that he was unable to land any of his major defensive targets.

United are odds-on with GentingBet to win at Burnley on Sunday and three points are badly needed to relieve the pressure on the under-fire Portuguese after a shocking 3-0 home loss to Spurs on Monday.

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United were a little unfortunate against Tottenham, having produced a more attacking style, and United’s fans hope that will continue at Turf Moor against a Burnley side in the bottom three, but with a much better result.

But Mourinho admits he hasn’t got the defenders to go all-out attack like City and Liverpool.

He said: “We will try. We are going to try, you know.

“It’s a process that has risks ­especially if you make the defensive mistakes that breaks that dynamic.

“The teams that are really, really good offensively are the teams that are very, very solid from the back.”

Asked whether his stars can play like City or Liverpool, Mourinho was guarded in his reply.

“They play the way they play, and we play the way we play,” he said.

“I don’t even want to try to say something in relation to that. They are what they are and we are what we are. Against Tottenham, we were really positive and really strong and I think the opponent, a very good opponent, felt that and felt they were really in trouble. But two defensive mistakes in five minutes lost the game for us.”

United are still in the hunt for Leicester’s England centre-half Harry Maguire. The Foxes rebuffed advances from United in the summer and his ability to play out of defence would enable Mourinho’s side to gain better balance and leadership.

United also failed to sign other targets Jerome Boateng of Bayern Munich and Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld, leaving the manager to bemoan the increasing gap between the red and blue half of Manchester. “I said that in the summer before the ­competition started. It’s not especially now. Two defeats are two defeats,” Mourinho said.

“We still have 35 matches to play. It’s not because we lost six points that this is going to change. I knew this was going to be difficult because I knew that last season was going to be very, very difficult.”