Jose Mourinho warns Man Utd cannot weaken rivals by buying their best players
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 05/02/17 6:08pm
Jose Mourinho says the days of Manchester United raiding their rivals for their best players are gone.
Mourinho watched his United side win 3-0 at Leicester in the Premier League on Sunday to close the gap on the top five, but before the match he warned their return to the top of English football will take more time.
In the past, United have signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal, Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham and Andy Cole from Newcastle, but they have not bought a player from a top-four rival since signing Juan Mata in January 2014 when he was no longer in Mourinho's plans at Chelsea.
"Football has changed in the three years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. This is the new football," Mourinho said.
"Do you think I can go to Tottenham and buy two players to kill Tottenham? I can't. I cannot go to Arsenal and buy their two best players, or go to Chelsea and bring two of the players that I love very, very much. That time is over.
"The situation where you could start to become the champions by attacking your opponents is over in this country. If you get a player from a top club, you only get a player those clubs don't want to keep.
"You cannot attack your rivals any more. It used to be that when one of the big clubs was getting stronger, another of the big clubs was getting weaker.
"The problem we are finding is that we are getting stronger but so are the others - they are getting powerful. That means we have to grow up again and it is going to take more time."