Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has vowed to beat the target set by club officials as he aims to win the Premier League title in his first season.
The Portuguese tactician took charge at Old Trafford earlier this summer, and will hope to bring back success to the club after a difficult few years.
Having revealed that he was given three years to get the Red Devils back to the top, Mourinho responded by suggesting that he would try to get it done in just one.
United have finished seventh, fourth and fifth in the last three years, but their new manager is confident that pattern will change sooner rather than later.
“No ultimatum. No demands. Just tranquillity to play and work my three-year contract,” he told The Sun.
“The message from the owners and Mr Woodward was this — ‘Get your three years, do your work, improve the team and bring us back where we belong during a three-year period’.
“My message was that I wanted to win the title in the first season.”
A key aspect of doing that is to instil belief and confidence in the players that it’s possible, and Mourinho went on to discuss objectives ahead of the new campaign, with a top four finish not what he’s ultimately aiming at.
“I want to be champion. To say before the season starts that the top four is the target? The top four is not the target. We want to play to be champions,” he added.
“If during the season we realise the points difference doesn’t allow us to fight for the title, we are going to establish a new title and when you can’t be champion the next target is to finish top four.
“But day one, I don’t want to hide behind a bad season or no Champions League football to say we want to finish top four.”
In his five previous jobs, the ‘Special One’ has won the league title in his first year in charge on three occasions, while at Real Madrid he had to settle for the Copa del Rey before failing to win anything in his second stint at Chelsea.
Given the set of circumstances at United, it will be a difficult task to avoid another opening year without a trophy, such is the gap that he has to bridge along with the heavy competition that he will face next season.
Nevertheless, he’ll be confident of doing so, particularly after moving in the transfer market to sign Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan already this summer.