Jose Mourinho says more players need to chip in with goals this season if Manchester United are to challenge for the Premier League.
Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield glory was a decent return in the Portuguese’s first campaign in the Old Trafford dugout, as was Champions League qualification.
However, United finished in sixth place and an eye-watering 24 points behind champions Chelsea – despite losing the same number of Premier League games as Mourinho’s former club.
An unerring knack of drawing matches they dominated proved their undoing, struggling to break teams down when top goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic was absent or stuttered.
Mourinho knows they were over-reliant on the injured ex-Sweden striker’s goals and wants more support for this season’s main man Romelu Lukaku.
“In my other clubs what I had was more players scoring goals,” he said. “Midfield players scoring goals, wingers scoring goals, central defenders good in the air scoring goals at set-pieces.
“We always had that so my teams always had the goalscorer, we always had the guy that scores more goals, but then we had the winger that scored 15 goals, we had the midfield player who scored 10 goals, we had the central defender that scored five goals.
“And last season we were focused on the goals that our striker was scoring and when he was not scoring, the team was a little bit in trouble to win matches.”
At the other end of the field, Mourinho is set to reinstate Phil Jones and Eric Bailly as his centre-backs against West Ham.
Bailly and Jones missed Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid through suspension, but their continental ban does not impact domestic matches.
Chelsea’s Premier League title defence got off to a shocker as they fell to a 3-2 defeat to Burnley.
Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas were both sent off in either half as the champions fought back from 3-0 down to 3-2, ending the game with nine players.
Alvaro Morata and David Luiz got on the score sheet as the Blues dominated proceedings in the second period.
Here’s our two good, two bad from a thrilling encounter at Stamford Bridge.
The Welshman was in top form as he bagged a brace against the league winners in their own backyard. His strikes came on either side of a Steven Ward thumping effort.
Before he broke the deadlock, Vokes even had a header ruled out for offside after James Tarkowski was blown up for a foul leading up to it.
However, the striker did get on the score sheet when he steered in Matt Lowton’s cross. A couple of minutes before half-time, Steven Defour swung in a cross from a quick free-kick and Vokes was left completely unmarked to nod his effort past Thibaut Courtois.
Lacking a full preseason, Alvaro Morata began from the bench for Chelsea but made an instant impact when he was introduced in the 59th minute.
Ten minutes into his Chelsea debut, he pulled a goal back for the hosts, making it 3-1 with a fantastically timed run and glancing header from a Willian cross.
He found the back of the net shortly afterwards again but was denied by the linesman for offside. Despite losing Fabregas as well, Chelsea made it 3-2 when the former Real Madrid striker did well to flick on a header to put David Luiz clean through. The Brazilian took his chance well to set up a grandstand finish.
While Gary Cahill is an easy target and did in fact do his side plenty of damage with his red card, it’s Luiz who then failed to assume responsibility in that back three.
The Brazilian defender was all over the place in defence when he needed to be leading it as its senior most member left on the pitch.
The third goal in particular was extremely disappointing on his part as he left Vokes completely unmarked right in front of the goal, bizarrely getting touch-tight to Antonio Rudiger instead.
He did score Chelsea’s second to make it a nail-biting finish, but it hardly compensated for his poor display at the back.
Given the chance to start while Tiemoue Bakayoko works his way to fitness, Fabregas didn’t do himself any favours.
In a game that required more muscle than skill to get to grips with proceedings, particularly after Cahill’s sending off, the Spaniard failed to take control of midfield.
His sarcastic clap earned him an unnecessary booking which proved costly when he received his second yellow card for a dangerous lunge on Cork.
Antonio Conte admitted the “two faces” of Chelsea were evident after the Premier League champions were humbled 3-2 by Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
Gary Cahill was sent off in the 14th minute by referee Craig Pawson for a high lunge at Steven Defour and Burnley responded by powering into a 3-0 lead with two goals from Sam Vokes and a Stephen Ward strike.
Chelsea fought back through Alvaro Morata and David Luiz, but Cesc Fabregas’ dismissal for two bookable offences disrupted their momentum in a second-half they dominated.
“The red card was a key moment. After that we lost our composure and conceded three goals,” Conte said.
“We have to improve a lot on this aspect because there was the rest of the game to try to do our best. We must have the right experience to face this situation.
“Instead we conceded three goals and in the second half it was very difficult to change the final result despite the great commitment, will and desire of my players.
“I’m very proud of my players, but in this game we saw two faces – the first half negative and the second half positive.
“In the second half we changed totally the situation and tried to attack in the right way.”
When asked if Pawson got the big decisions right, Conte replied: “Mmm…I prefer to not comment on the referee’s decision and performance.
“I think that the coach, the players and referee can make mistakes.”
Conte, who named £58million Spain striker Alvaro Mata on the bench, denied a suggestion that his team selection was a message to the board that he is disgruntled over Chelsea’s transfer activity this summer.
“In our pre-season, in every pre-season, I played our best formation and I did the same against Burnley. I picked the best players that we have at this moment,” Conte said.
“Why do I have to send a message? Why? I want to win. I wanted to win here, not to send a message.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche praised Pawson’s officiating of the game, insisting he had performed well in difficult circumstances, and declared his team worthy winners.
“The sending off makes a big difference. I haven’t seen it but my staff tell me it’s the correct decision,” Dyche said.
“I thought the referee was really good. He had a tough game to handle and he did well overall. We responded to the sending off well.
“Overall we deserved it. They’re a top class side with some fantastic individuals. Losing 3-0 is not usual for them so they had to respond so credit to them for that.
“We were disappointed in the two goals conceded because before that we’d kept a really good shape and they didn’t have too many chances.
“It’s a big win for us because they’re a fine side. Even with 10 men they’re a very good team. They’re strong and physical.
“They opened up the pitch even more when they had 10 men which put us on the back foot a bit. I’m really pleased with our mentality.”