Man United's Mourinho takes dig at Chelsea, promises attacking football

MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho insists Manchester United's title challenge this season will be built on attacking football, unlike Chelsea's success under Antonio Conte.

United top the table after three games, taking nine points, scoring 10 goals and conceding none. They face their toughest challenge of the season so far this weekend when they visit Stoke on Saturday evening --- a place United have not won a league game since 2013.

But Mourinho has promised his team will attack Stoke, and every other team in the Premier League this season, while having a thinly-veiled dig at Conte's champions.

He told a news conference on Friday: "We try to play the best we can.

"We know that if you look in a pragmatic way, you see the last winners of the Premier League, the last winners of the Premier League, they did not play attacking football. They played defensive football and counter-attack football.

"So according to the results, that is the way to win the Premier League.

"We try to play according to the qualities of our players. We try to play positive, we try to play good, but we try to win.

"If one day to win we have to play defensive football, we have to do it. And if we go to Stoke and Stoke in some moments of the match, they put us under pressure and they are dominant, we have to be humble and we have to be pragmatic and we have to face the reality.

"If you ask me, are we going to go there and play with seven at the back, like some teams do, five plus two? No, we're not going to do that. We're going to try and play well and score goals.

"But if our opponent is better than us and dominant, we are humble enough to transform our way of playing to play for a result."

United head to the bet365 Stadium looking to extend a perfect record in the league so far this season.

Two comfortable 4-0 wins over West Ham and Swansea were followed with a 2-0 victory over Leicester before the international break.

And Mourinho says he learned a lot about his players for how they went on beat Leicester despite Romelu Lukaku's missed penalty at 0-0 with half an hour to play.

He added: "I was saying a few weeks ago let's see what we do in a difficult moment. I think a difficult moment was 0-0, miss a penalty with 30 minutes to play. It was difficult moment.

"Our reaction was good. A difficult moment will be losing, will be playing with 10 men, we are going to have difficult moments. Let's see how we cope.

"My feeling is the squad is strong, the players are strong, united, the atmosphere is very good, very positive.

"We don't fear any challenge but we know Premier League, Champions League, let's forget a bit the League Cup, the next two matches is where the quality, is where the difficulties are."

Sir Alex Ferguson was the last United manager to win a league game at Stoke just weeks before he announced his retirement.

There have been two draws and two defeats in the last four visits under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho, while Mark Hughes' side have already beaten Arsenal at home this season.

Mourinho said: "I would say it's always difficult there, of course sometimes they lose matches but normally it's not easy for anyone to play against Stoke, probably because in the last years United was not strong enough and in my personal case last season we didn't win because we were not good enough, didn't play well enough.

"They are difficult, they are aggressive, they defend with a lot of people, they are dangerous on counter attack, set pieces, it's a stadium that has a lot of pressure, too.

"I think it's going to be difficult again. Hopefully we can be better than in previous seasons so hopefully we can be better."