Jose Mourinho: Premier League title race will be a more level playing field next season
Manchester United finished sixth in the league last season, 24 points behind winners Chelsea, and seven adrift of Liverpool, who finished fourth.
Mourinho’s side still qualified for the Champions League by virtue of winning the Europa League but with Chelsea and Liverpool back in European competition next term after last season’s absence, alongside Spurs, Manchester City and Arsenal, the United manager believes no one will hold a specific advantage domestically.
United played 64 games last season, 17 matches more than both Chelsea and Liverpool played.
“There is one thing, this season is going be a little more balanced because of the fact the top six are all in European competitions,” Mourinho said. “Not like last season, when Chelsea and Liverpool played all season one match per week, with all the others playing in Europeans competitions -- especially us, playing in Europa League.
“Next season, six teams, and also Everton, are going to play in Europe and that is going to create a new situation for Chelsea and Liverpool.”
Mourinho stopped short of claiming Chelsea’s easier workload was the sole factor behind his former club’s title triumph but he insisted it played a part.
“I don't want to say it was 'key,' because if I say that, I don't want to take credit from the credit that they [Chelsea] deserve,” he told ESPN. "But obviously, to play one match per week and one, two or three days off during the week, have no injuries or no accumulation, the same with Liverpool, I think obviously it helps.
“Now they are going to face a different situation, but with the squad they have and the players they are signing, I think they are going to cope with it."
Mourinho has won the title in the second season at every one of his previous clubs, including both spells at Chelsea, and hopes he can maintain the feat at Old Trafford.
“Can we win it? We can, but maybe we don't," he said. "As I was saying, everything is good and strong, but some of them [other clubs] are really strong on the market, so it is going to be difficult.
“Normally, the second season should be better than the first, because you know the club, you know the players. The players, they know you, the club know you can affect in a positive way the structure. You can affect in a positive way the people that work around you.
“So normally the second season should be better than the first, but again, this is modern football. The reality is totally different. So when I see the way other clubs invest, when I see the way other clubs keep their best players, when I see the way other clubs refuse to sell their best players, when I see the economic power to do it, it is getting much harder. It's getting much harder for everyone, so we don't know."