Jose Mourinho has made it clear that Manchester United are not title favourites following their 4-0 win over West Ham United on Sunday.
It was a performance contrasting heavily with the inertia at home last season; Man United were, above all, exciting to watch, and talk of a title challenge inevitably followed.
But Mourinho, speaking ahead of United’s Saturday lunchtime clash with Swansea City, has called for supporters – and the watching world – to not get ahead of themselves just yet.
“I’m too experienced and stable to lose my discipline, my stability and to think a 4-0 really makes us the best team in the country, the favourites or the dream team,” he said.
“We’re not favourites, we’re not the dream team, we’re just a team with more confidence than last season, with more time of work together, but I’m calm.
“When I look to the last match, I like many, many things, but the challenge is not to repeat the result, because a 4-0 win is difficult to repeat in the Premier League, but to repeat the same kind of performance.
“We had good tactical discipline in the team, a really good clean sheet, played good football, had a good dynamic in attack, we were scoring goals, winning 1-0 and we kept playing to try to score more goals and to try to play well.
“I liked a lot. I liked the fact the three subs, who are normally disappointed people to be on the bench, even five minutes like Jesse Lingard, 10 like Anthony Martial or 15 like Marouane Fellaini, they performed at same level.
“But this is just the beginning. Last season we played three matches, had nine points and finished sixth.”
The 54-year-old has been here before. As he notes, United made an impressive start to their Premier League campaign last season, beating AFC Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull City, but the dynamic changed very quickly following losses to Manchester City, Feyenoord and Watford.
David Moyes, after all, romped to a 4-1 win on his first Premier League game as United manager. This is just the start of a very, very long road, and Mourinho knows that better than most. Now is not the time for wishful thinking, but instead for building on what was an encouraging start – because that, it should be stressed, is all it was.