Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho – Our rivals are getting more powerful
Manchester United were a dominant force under Sir Alex Ferguson but have struggled to reach the standards he set since his retirement.
United used to be able to raid their rivals for their top talents to ensure success with Robin van Persie signing from Arsenal and Dimitar Berbatov coming in from Tottenham.
But United have failed to sign a player from a top-four rival since 2014 when they brought in Juan Mata from Chelsea.
Juan Mata was the last player United signed from a rival club
And Jose Mourinho, United's third manager since Ferguson called time on his 27-year career, reckons this is because the landscape of football has changed.
"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.
Mourinho reckons that a lot has changed in football since Sir Alex Ferguson retired
Manchester United predicted XI to face Leicester City
Fri, February 3, 2017
Express Sport brings you our predicted Manchester United team to face Leicester City on Sunday
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
Man Utd via Getty Images
1 of 12
Who could Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho start against Leicester City?
"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."
Sixth-placed United have the chance to close the gap on the top four when they take on Leicester at the King Power Stadium today (4pm).