United's preparation for the new campaign has been badly affected by injuries and the absence of a number of players whose summer break was delayed due to the World Cup.
The Manchester United manager consistently cried foul on the club's pre-season tour of the United States about the state of his squad to try and provoke a reaction from the United hierarchy.
Any hope with which Manchester United supporters woke up on transfer deadline day has quickly been quashed by Jose Mourinho.
Yet, a shortened window allied to the tight turnaround from the final stages of the World Cup just four weeks ago, left English clubs in a rush against time to get deals done and facing inflated fees when buying from Europe's other top leagues, where the window doesn't close till later this month.
"I'm not confident", Mourinho said, when asked whether there would be more players arriving before the deadline. As it stands, Alderweireld and Maguire are considered too expensive, while Bayern Munich have knocked back a loan move for Boateng.More news: Scots ex-footballer at centre of TV anti-Manchester United 'agenda' controversy
"My view is that, first of all, it is hard for me to believe we finished second because when I listen, when I read - not much but sometimes I do - you [the media] are capable of making people that finish second look like they were relegated, and people who win nothing, finish below us, you make them look like serial winners. [Sergio] Romero, [Antonio] Valencia, Marcos Rojo, [Diogo] Dalot, Ander Herrera, [Nemanja] Matic [are injured] and I think that's it".
City are the reigning champions after Pep Guardiola guided them to 100 points last season, but the Premier League years had previously been dominated by United, who won 13 titles under Sir Alex Ferguson.
"You don't really know the team, you don't really know the players, you don't know how they're going to perform from one week to the next".
"But I keep saying and thinking and feeling that the second last season was one of my biggest achievements in the game".