December 10, 2015

The Jose Mourinho era at Manchester United begins with a trip to Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium on Sunday.

It has been a summer of change at United, with Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal at the helm before making a string of high-profile signings.

Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have all been brought in to try and boost the Red Devils back up into title contention after a disappointing last season that saw them finish fifth - 15 points behind champions Leicester City.

And Mourinho believes that his new-look squad have what it takes to win the Premier League in his first season at the club.

"We feel that we are candidates to win the title," he said. "We cannot speak differently. We want to fight for the title. At the end of the season we are not champs because someone is better than us then great, that's football. But at Man United Football Club you cannot say differently, we have to fight for the title.

"More think the same way as us, but they are afraid to say it. They prefer to play a defensive game in words. They prefer to say or to hide or to play defensively with the words. That's not our way. I don't think that's Man United. I think Man United has to say we want to win the title."

United, though, are unable to call on Pogba because the world's most expensive player brings a one-game suspension with him from Italy. Jesse Lingard and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson are the Red Devils' only injury worries.

Sunday's hosts Bournemouth enjoyed an impressive debut year in the top-flight, securing safety with unexpected ease despite a number of injury problems to key personnel.

However, manager Eddie Howe is not taking the glitz and glamour of the Premier League for granted. He's relishing the opportunity to start the season against the biggest English club of all.

"Manchester United coming to Bournemouth is fantastic for us," Howe said. "I certainly don't - and I know that the club do not - take that for granted. We are privileged to play in the Premier League and host everyone in the league, but this will be a special one to start.

"That said, we are not going to be overawed by anything, just as we weren't last season. The challenge from the players' perspective is to respond to it all with a positive not negative attitude."

Bournemouth will have to take on their illustrious opponents without Emerson Hyndman, Junor Stanislas and Tyrone Mings, who are all recovering from injury.

Howe's side won this fixture 2-1 last season, stretching the Cherries' home record against United to no defeats in four.

Mourinho has never lost an opening weekend game, but four of United's five season-opening defeats in the Premier League have come away from home.

These teams met on the final day last season, with United winning 3-1. That result completed a run of no wins on a Sunday (in five attempts) for the whole of Bournemouth's campaign.

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