Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Jose Mourinho has a right to voice his opinion on Manchester United after the former Red Devils boss strongly criticised their performance in a 2-0 Premier League loss at West Ham.

Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scored to consign United to defeat at London Stadium, with Solskjaer's men without a win away from home in nine matches in all competitions.

Mourinho, appearing as a pundit for Sky Sports, said he could find no positives to take from United's display, adding: "We were bad last season, but I don't see any improvement this season."

Solskjaer, though, noted United were beaten on their previous visit to London Stadium, sliding to a 3-1 loss under Mourinho's leadership in September 2018.

"I think he's got a right to his opinion," Solskjaer told a news conference when asked about Mourinho's comments.

"We lost here last year, it's always a difficult ground to go to and we hoped to do better than we did. We hope for better.

"But the key moments they grasped and we didn't. I have to say, two fantastic finishes from two left feet. We just didn't take the chances when we had them.

"Of course, when you lose a game you're disappointed. It's a game that can go both ways, as you expect away from home in the Premier League.

"It's a good group to work with, they're determined. Sometimes along the road you hit some bumps, some highs and lows, this group is determined and they have desire. It's a good atmosphere in the dressing room and they've got their focus right."

Solskjaer confirmed Marcus Rashford - who has only scored once since a brace in the 4-0 win over Chelsea on opening weekend - needs a scan after he was taken off with a groin injury but could be out for "a little while".

That left United having to field Jesse Lingard as a striker as teenager Mason Greenwood was unavailable due to tonsillitis and Anthony Martial was sidelined by injury.

United allowed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to join Inter without signing any replacements in attack, but Solskjaer continues to stand by that decision.

"It's one of these moments, we've had historically lots of centre-backs struggling with injuries," he added. "We've come down here and Michael Carrick's played centre-back, Darren Fletcher has, now it's strikers. 

"It's just how it's gone. Hopefully Mason and Anthony will be back for Arsenal [on September 30], definitely, hopefully one of them for Rochdale [on Wednesday in the EFL Cup]."

Pressed on why Sanchez was permitted to depart on loan, leaving United short of options, Solskjaer said: "We made a decision on that and I still think it was the best one for us, and for Alexis, and we agreed on that one.

"We didn't create enough chances but we created big chances, some big moments that we didn't take, and they scored although they didn't create too many either. It's a game that could have gone both ways. When you've got Rashford and Dan James I don't think pace is the problem.

"There's a few in the first half we turned down a key pass, we had two chances in the second half we could have again and I'm sure we'd score more than we miss.

"This group, they want to do what we want to do, they work in training. Like I said, there's key moments in games that can tip them in our favour compared to theirs. You can make a bad decision on a pass, left, right or centre, but the attitude is there.

"That's not the problem. It's the quality in our decision-making and sometimes in their execution."

Jose Mourinho blasted Manchester United's performance in their 2-0 defeat at West Ham and said he sees no improvement in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side since last season.

Goals in either half from Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell condemned United to their second Premier League defeat in six matches and it was the lacklustre performance at London Stadium that drew criticism from Mourinho.

While admitting that the side he managed in the early part of 2018-19 before Solskjaer replaced him were "bad", Mourinho said they looked no better than the one that recorded a disappointing sixth-place Premier League finish last team, despite Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Daniel James all arriving at Old Trafford in the close season.

Asked on Sky Sports whether he could find any positives in United's performance, Mourinho said: "No… I can't find.

"We were bad last season but I don't see any improvement this season, even with three new players – and I have to say players with a positive impact. I like these three and I think they are bringing some good quality to the team.

"But the team as a team, I don't like at all. I am not surprised by the result and I don't think Ole can take any positives from the game."

Former United midfielder Roy Keane weighed in with similarly damning comments, pointing to a lack of leadership as one of United's problems.

Solskjaer ended the game with Jesse Lingard as a lone striker after Marcus Rashford went off with a groin problem and, with the club facing something of an injury crisis, Keane underlined the scale of the challenge ahead for the manager.

"I don't know where to start," said Keane. "I knew they weren't in a great place but I'm shocked and saddened by how bad they were today.

"I know you can lose a game of football but everything about United [was] lacklustre, low quality, a lack of desire, lack of leaders, lack of characters.

"It's a long way back for United. It's scary how far they've fallen."

He might have signed a lucrative new contract with Manchester United this week, but David de Gea's difficulties from free-kicks continued in Manchester United's sorry 2-0 defeat to West Ham on Sunday.

The Hammers were already a goal to the good when Aaron Cresswell stepped up to take a 20-yard free-kick six minutes from time.

The Spain international got a hand to the left-back's effort but was unable to keep it out, meaning he has conceded 12 goals from direct free-kicks since the start of the 2011-12 Premier League season – more than any other goalkeeper in the division.

Former United defender Gary Neville was less than impressed with De Gea's attempted save, describing him as having a "poppadom hand" during his co-commentary on Sky Sports.

Speaking in the Sky Sports studio before the game, former United boss Jose Mourinho described De Gea as "lucky" to have been given a new four-year deal by the Red Devils.

He said: "I think the moment he signed his huge contract is a moment that I don't think Manchester United need to pay as much as they have.

"One or two years ago the world was after him. At the moment, the majority of the big doors are closed. Real Madrid are closed. Barcelona are closed. Paris Saint-Germain are closed.

"I don't think United were under pressure because David was going to disappear. So, he gets a phenomenal contract in a moment when he’s a bit lucky to get it."

After the match, Mourinho suggested De Gea's approach to organising his defensive walls and where he places players within them might be a factor in his free-kick woes.

"I think, from a left-footed player [such as Cresswell], the two least important players in the wall are the first and the fourth," he said.

"The first, where Ashley Young is, because if the ball goes over him with the left foot the ball goes out. And the last one, the fourth, because if the ball goes over him it goes in the middle of the goal and you give a chance to the keeper.

"The two most important ones are where [Victor] Lindelof and [Scott] McTominay are. I don't think [Harry] Maguire should be the fourth man in the wall. He should be the second with McTominay and try to [block] it.

"I'm not saying they would do it because it's a very good shot from Cresswell."

Under-fire coach Zinedine Zidane insists he has no regrets about returning to Real Madrid and says he is not affected by speculation that Jose Mourinho could replace him.

The Frenchman has struggled to rekindle the magic that saw him win three consecutive Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018 since replacing Santiago Solari in March.

Los Blancos have won just two of their four LaLiga games so far this season and slipped to a humbling 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday.

That defeat has led to fresh questions about his future, with the Madrid board rumoured to be considering swapping Zidane for former boss Mourinho.

However, Zidane says he is unfazed by the speculation and remains focused on preparing his side to face Sevilla in LaLiga on Sunday.

"If I read the press, it says I'm gone," he told a media conference. "I feel strong. I have learned to never back down and to keep working until the very last moment.

"I'm not thinking about leaving. I'm only thinking of winning tomorrow. The difficulties that they speak of on the outside are something we can't control.

"I made the decision to come back because I liked the look of the new project. Now I am here, I will try. We have to be together to achieve our objectives."

Asked about speculation that Mourinho could replace him, Zidane added: "It doesn't bother me to hear about Mourinho; it is what it is. Here, you lose one game and you have to change everything."

Sevilla are top of LaLiga after three wins from their opening four games and Zidane says his players need to continue working hard if they are to return to winning ways.

"We must give everything we can to win the game," he said. "It's a difficult stadium but it's always going to be like that.

"We have to keep working hard, prepare well for games and change things around. That's football. We have a chance to change it round quickly. That's what helps me get through.

"We can't talk about everything that goes on outside the club and respond to all the criticism."

Jose Mourinho has refused to declare any interest in a return to Real Madrid out of respect for Zinedine Zidane.

Since replacing Santiago Solari during the second half of last season, Zidane has failed to rekindle the magic that saw him bring three consecutive Champions League titles to the Santiago Bernabeu between 2016 and 2018.

Wednesday's humbling 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in Europe's top competition led to fresh questions about his future, although former Madrid boss Mourinho declined to put himself forward as an alternative during an interview with Deportes Cuatro on Friday.

"There are two types of rumours. One, when one speaks about Zidane, who is one of ours and it hurts us when our teams aren't going well," he said.

"You have to live with it. Zidane is in football all his life and he knows it. The other type of rumour is to put my name in there and I don't like that. There are problems in many places, but another thing is [to have] respect.

"I wouldn't like to return [to Madrid] because they have a manager and I can't coach a team who have a manager.

"You can speak with respect about the club but also about the manager, who isn't just anyone.

"I am out of it. I'm not just blowing smoke. I would like that things turn out well and everything gets fixed."

In fact, Mourinho pointed to the early standings in LaLiga, where Madrid are ahead of champions Barcelona by a point and can overtake leaders Sevilla with victory at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan this weekend, to suggest the picture in the Spanish capital is not as gloomy as some make out.

"They're third or fourth, no? Close to being first. It's not bad," he said.

"If you look at if pragmatically, if you focus on the table, they're right there.

"Now, they play Sevilla and if they win, they go ahead of them. Barcelona are behind them and Atletico are a point ahead."

Mourinho suggested he could be ready to take his talents elsewhere when he goes back to work, with a piece of information that is unlikely to go unnoticed in the Bundesliga's upper echelons.

"Now, I am in German classes in case one day I end up there, or so I can speak one day in this language for a Champions League game," he added.

"It will be my sixth language."

Jose Mourinho claims Alexis Sanchez flopped at Manchester United because he was a "sad man", but has backed the Chilean to reignite his love for football at Inter.

Sanchez joined the Italian club on an initial season-long loan deal two weeks ago after struggling for form and fitness during his 18 months at Old Trafford.

Much was expected of the Chile international following his switch from Arsenal in January 2018, but he managed just three goals in 32 Premier League appearances.

Mourinho was in charge of United at the time of Sanchez's arrival and is willing to accept some of the blame for the ex-Barcelona forward's lack of impact.

"I felt him [to be] not a happy man," Mourinho told The Telegraph. "I think in every job you have when you are not happy it is not so easy to perform at every level. 

"Maybe I am wrong - maybe it was me who was not capable to get into him and to get the best out of him.

"As a manager sometimes you have the capacity to get the best out of the players and other times you are not successful in that approach. 

"But the reality is that I always felt [of Sanchez], 'a sad man'. So probably in Italy he will recover this. I hope he can. I always wish well to every player."

Inter also took Romelu Lukaku from United on a permanent basis during the transfer window and Mourinho has no doubt the Belgian will continue to score regularly in Italy.

"[He has scored] for West Bromwich Albion, for Everton, for United," Mourinho said. 

"In terms of Lukaku the move looks more like player ambition, player desire to change, than [the notion] he didn't deliver anything for the club."

Mourinho has been out of work since being sacked by United last December and is desperate to find the right job, believing he has always picked difficult projects.

"For sure my next job will be a difficult one because I am very bad at choosing projects," he said. "I am either bad at choosing projects or the bad projects choose me. But it is always the same. 

"When I go to Real Madrid, it is because Madrid are in trouble. When I go to United it is because United are in trouble. When I go to Chelsea the first time it is because they haven't won the league in 50 years. 

"When I go the second time it is because their top team disappeared and they want to be champions with a new team. When I go to Inter it is because they haven't won the Champions League for 50 years.

"I have never had one of these clubs where it is, 'Come on, the team is here ready'. But that is the nature of things. When the teams change coaches in the middle of the season it is for a reason. It is because of bad results."

Marcus Rashford believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer relates to Manchester United's players better than Jose Mourinho and deserves time to carry out his long-term plan.

Solskjaer took over on an interim basis when Mourinho was sacked in December 2018 following a poor run of results.

The former United forward's position was made permanent in March and he presided over the recruitment of Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire during the close season.

While results this season have been unconvincing, England international Rashford insists the squad remain supportive of Solskjaer's vision.

"Right now, everyone is confident in the manager," Rashford told the BBC. "We might not be doing what he's telling us to perfection yet, but the initial response to his tactics, his training has been phenomenal.

"For me, [the difference to previous managers] is just a plan. It's not a plan for just this season, or a plan for just the next game. It's a plan for years.

"I think [managers] need to be backed. In the position we are in now we don't need this rotation of managers, because you never settle."

Solskjaer proved a popular appointment with United fans as a result of his success as a player at Old Trafford.

Rashford thinks the 1999 Champions League hero's experience on the pitch gives him a unique advantage over predecessor Mourinho, who had a modest playing career in his native Portugal.

The 21-year-old said of Solskjaer: "Off the pitch he understands the players a bit more. I don't think it was a problem for [Mourinho], because he is obviously a top manager, and he has his way of reading people.

"But for me, when a manager has played, they have lived the lifestyle we have lived and they might be a bit more understanding."

Frank Lampard was not surprised to face criticism from his former manager Jose Mourinho following Chelsea's heavy loss at Manchester United last weekend.

Mourinho questioned Lampard's decision to leave a number of experienced players out of his starting line-up at Old Trafford, including the half-fit N'Golo Kante, with Chelsea collapsing to a 4-0 loss.

The defeat marked an unwelcome start to Premier League management for Lampard, but Chelsea's all-time leading goalscorer does not plan on getting involved in a slanging match with the Portuguese, who coached him at Stamford Bridge.

"I was very ready for that," Lampard told reporters ahead of Sunday's game against Leicester City.

"Being a player who played here, we were always competitive for leagues and Champions Leagues. The level of attention and criticism on your performance is inflated as a manager because you take on more responsibility.

"I wasn't surprised by it. You have to be ready for it. You have to be ready to answer questions. You have to be ready to know what your feeling is. Whether you should say something bad. 

"My first feeling is can I protect my players? Can I protect my club? Can I protect myself? Because I know we are working with the right intention and in the right direction. I know you have to pick and choose your battles."

Chelsea also slipped to defeat in midweek as they were edged out on penalties by Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup.

Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud and Kante came into the side as the Blues delivered a much-improved performance in a game that finished 2-2 after extra time.

Lampard's team had a more solid look about them with Kante in midfield but the 41-year-old wants his tactics to be adaptable.

"I think it will evolve," Lampard said of his game plan. "I hope so because you need to be thinking to evolve all the time. I don't want us to be a one-trick pony. I want us to have different strengths to our game.

"Liverpool, for instance, have one of the best front threes in the world [Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah]. We know that. A lot of speed, a lot of quality to hurt you and so we have to think about that and change the approach to do that. I don't think there is one certain shift.

"What I did love was the way the players took on the information we gave them. There was a really short space [of time] from Manchester United. Then there were a few messages, and they took it on brilliantly.

"There were generals on the pitch. I thought Jorginho was fantastic the other night. He was constantly talking to people around him. Constantly talking to the back-line to drag them up and playing with quality. They are the players who are the ones that drive when they get out there.

"That was the most pleasing thing from me - that the spirit and attitude of the players felt really special."

Mauricio Pochettino was delighted to hear Jose Mourinho thinks Tottenham are Premier League title challengers - even if he also backed Manchester City's "B team".

Former Manchester United and Chelsea boss Mourinho stated last week that reigning champions City can only realistically be stopped by Liverpool or Spurs this season.

He even suggested City's second-string XI would be strong enough to contest for the Premier League, such is the quality in Pep Guardiola's squad.

The comments amused Pochettino ahead of Spurs' trip to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, although he was nonetheless grateful to hear Mourinho has such a high opinion of his players.

"I love Mou! He's so clever, he is so sarcastic sometimes. That's why he's one of the best managers in the world. I respect his opinion," Pochettino told a news conference.

"Of course, [I'm] grateful because a manager like Mourinho believing we have the potential to be a contender, I think it's important. We have our faith and our belief in us, but that compliment helps us to believe a little bit more, of course."

Spurs knocked City out of the Champions League quarter-finals last season on away goals after a dramatic second leg saw VAR rule out a potential winner from Raheem Sterling.

However, Pochettino's men finished 27 points behind City in the Premier League table, a gap the former Southampton boss feels is important to bridge.

"We are going to fight again this season against ourselves to try to improve our balance," he said.

"If we analyse the last five years, we always improve every season in different things but, in the Premier League, I think we decrease in our performance or in the points we got.

"That is our challenge: to improve ourselves, to improve our numbers in the Premier League. Of course, in Europe we have improved and become more competitive and got to the final of the Champions League.

"In the Premier League we decrease and that is the point today: that we want to improve and to try to reduce the distance to City and Liverpool, who were the two best teams in the Premier League [in 2018-19]."

Jose Mourinho believes Joao Felix's huge price tag means he must produce the goods at Atletico Madrid despite his tender years.

The 19-year-old forward joined Diego Simeone's Atletico from Benfica in a €126million move last month and has turned in some dazzling pre-season displays.

As such, his famed Portuguese compatriot Mourinho believes there will be a demand for instant results.

"He has a challenge due to the extent of his talent and because of the investment the club have made on him," Mourinho told the Portuguese Football Federation's (FPF) television channel, Canal 11.

"I believe that he can't escape this responsibility. It doesn't matter if he's 18, 20 or 25.

"What matters is his talent and the responsibility he has."

That responsibility extends to spearheading a challenge for the top honours in Spain and Europe, according to Mourinho.

Despite losing Lucas Hernandez, Rodri, Diego Godin and Antoine Griezmann - the France star's long-anticipated move to Barcelona eventually coming to fruition – Atletico have reinforced impressively.

Kieran Trippier, Marcos Llorente and Hector Herrera are among those to have bolstered Simeone's squad and Mourinho feels they must now look to match Spain's heavyweight duo.

"Atletico Madrid's level of investment leaves them with responsibility to fight for the Champions League and LaLiga," he said.

"It's clear that Barcelona and Real Madrid have to be there because of their power, financial capability, culture and quality.

"Atletico in recent years have been without this responsibility, but the level of investment they've made is incredible.

"It's time to say, 'We're here, we're big, we want to be big and we are here to win'." 

Atletico begin their LaLiga campaign at home to Getafe on Sunday.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard hit back at Jose Mourinho after criticism of his team selection for the 4-0 loss to Manchester United.

Lampard's first competitive game at the helm of the Premier League club ended in a comprehensive loss at Old Trafford, where Marcus Rashford scored a brace to go with goals from Anthony Martial and Daniel James on Sunday.

Working for Sky Sports, former Chelsea boss Mourinho criticised Lampard's selection, saying more experienced players like N'Golo Kante, Marcos Alonso and Olivier Giroud should have started, while questioning the performances of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Andreas Christensen.

Lampard seemed surprised by Mourinho's comments, saying injuries had an impact on selection in his side's season opener.

"He didn't like the performance of Mason Mount? Is that what he said? Did he? Wow," he told a news conference.

"Well, I can't drag players out of the medical room to play if they are experienced or not, so these are the players that played in a game that we were clearly the better team for 45-60 minutes.

"What was evident that we made individual errors that led to four goals out of their five shots. So there's the harsh reality for us.

"I don't have to be too concerned about what anyone else says, pundit-wise or anyone, they have to speak. At the same time, what's clear is the squad is what we've got and I believe in it.

"If we go in at half-time 2-1 or 3-1 up, as we probably should have done if we were more clinical and maybe had a stroke of luck here and there, the game would've been completely different."

Giroud and Kante were both introduced off the bench, while Christian Pulisic also came on for his Premier League debut in the second half.

Lampard explained his decision not to start the United States international, who arrived in the close season after being signed from Borussia Dortmund in January for a reported £58million (€62.3m).

"Christian Pulisic is 20 years old. He will be a fantastic player for the club. He has got great ability. You saw little moments with his acceleration on the ball," he said.

"But I have also got other options in midfield and in those areas, and I don't want to stick Christian straight into the fire without trying to help him along the way. It was one of those games where I felt it was better to start with Ross [Barkley] and Mason, who have been very strong in pre-season, and bring Christian on.

"If the game had carried on at 1-0, or we were back in the game as we should have been, he would have been a great injection. In the end it was difficult for him because the game went quickly away from us."

Jose Mourinho wishes Harry Maguire had been in a Manchester United shirt during his time in charge at Old Trafford.

Maguire was named man of the match on his United debut, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side rode out a sometimes-tricky opening 45 minutes to run out 4-0 winners over Chelsea.

Mourinho watched his former clubs go to work in his new role as a Sky Sports pundit and was full of praise for England international Maguire, who he reportedly courted a year ago.

"I think he fully deserved [to be] man of the match, he was as solid as a rock," he said.

"The tactical knowledge, the personality, that sense of reading the game, being alert all the time and having the confidence to play.

"He was fantastic. I think he did [give United confidence]. A team can be very dangerous in attack, but if you feel that the defensive mistake is around the corner, it takes away the confidence and you do not play as well as you can.

"When you feel there is something that allows you to play you are much more confident to do it.

"Maguire was good, [Victor] Lindelof was good. As I always said, Lindelof can be a very good player. With Maguire, I think they can be a very good couple."

Asked whether Maguire was the player he had been looking for before his Old Trafford reign crumbled, Mourinho chuckled and replied: "He arrived one year later!"

Marcus Rashford also won his former manager's approval after a two-goal display.

The England international converted Paul Pogba's superb through-ball having already won and dispatched a first-half penalty.

Mourinho reflected on Rashford's haul of 10 goals from 2018-19 and what he must do to help fill the void left by Romelu Lukaku's departure to Inter.

"That [10 goals] is not enough, he has to score more goals. Especially without Lukaku on the team," Mourinho said.

"He will be on the pitch all the time and I believe he has the qualities to be better and better.

"He is not just a kid with potential but a kid with ambition. He wants to improve, he wants to work.

"I believe this season he has a big opportunity to be a better player and score more goals."

Mourinho added: "Against a team like Chelsea today he is very dangerous. Against teams with lower blocks, more physical, more pressure on the ball and less possibilities for transition, I feel it is more difficult."

Jose Mourinho believes even Manchester City's "B team" is strong enough to win the Premier League this season, but he does not expect Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal to contend for the title.

Reigning champions City cruised to a resounding 5-0 victory in their opening game against West Ham on Saturday, with Raheem Sterling plundering a hat-trick.

Sergio Aguero surprisingly started on the substitutes' bench, where he was joined by Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, Nicolas Otamendi, Claudio Bravo and Joao Cancelo, City's new signing from Juventus.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Manchester United's clash against Chelsea on Sunday, Mourinho highlighted the pool of talent available to Pep Guardiola.

Asked how many teams can win the title this term, Mourinho replied: "Four. Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool and City's B team.

"When I looked at the bench yesterday [Saturday] and the players that were not even involved, I believe even their B team could fight for the title."

Mourinho was dismissed by Manchester United in December after a torrid run of form and the Portuguese does not expect his former side to challenge City, Liverpool or Tottenham.

"I want to say the obvious thing: we would love United, Arsenal and Chelsea to be at that level," he added.

"Sometimes in football unbelievable things can happen, but we are speaking about a team that last season won everything, we are speaking about the European champions, we are speaking about the European runners-up.

"We are speaking about United that finished sixth and Arsenal that finished fifth."

Jose Mourinho will be keeping a close eye on the Premier League this season in a new punditry role with broadcaster Sky Sports.

The 56-year-old will be in the studio when former clubs Manchester United and Chelsea meet at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Mourinho has not worked as a manager since being sacked by United in December.

He worked as a pundit alongside ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger for beIN Sports last season after providing analysis of the World Cup on Russian television network RT.

"The Premier League is a special competition for me, one that takes so much hard work to win and you just can't take your eyes off the matches every week," Mourinho said.

"Sky Sports is the home of the Premier League and it's a pleasure for me to join this team and help to understand and explain what happened in each match.

"Football is a huge passion, it means so much to the fans, and I look forward to being part of the Premier League with them until I return to my place on the touchline."

Mourinho, a Champions League winner with Porto and Inter, recently expressed his "burning" desire to get back to coaching in one of Europe's top five leagues.

"I have to be patient and that's the most difficult thing," he said in July.

Jose Mourinho has told Frank Lampard to make the most of Kurt Zouma and Tammy Abraham while Chelsea are going through a transfer ban.

The Blues are unable to register new players until after next January after FIFA found them guilty of breaking rules relating to the transfers of under-18s. The Premier League club have appealed against the decision.

Christian Pulisic was cleared to complete a transfer from Borussia Dortmund that was agreed in January, while Mateo Kovacic has made his loan from Real Madrid into a permanent move, but new boss Lampard has otherwise been unable to bring in fresh faces.

With Eden Hazard having gone to Madrid, Gonzalo Higuain returned to Juventus and experienced defender Gary Cahill leaving, Lampard is likely to have to utilise some of Chelsea's young talent in the coming season.

Mourinho, who won two Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge when Lampard was a player, says there is plenty of talent at his old midfielder's disposal.

"I think every manager in the world loves to play kids from the academy," he told Sky Sports. "The question is: what is the product from the academy? What can you work with to improve?

"I think Chelsea is a very special club in relation to that. I just give an example: Chelsea needs a centre-back - Kurt Zouma! You don't need to buy, you don't need to spend. Zouma!

"He's champion of England, he played for Chelsea, played for Stoke [City] in the Premier League, played for Everton in the Premier League, played for France. He's your player, he's on loan, where are you going to buy a better player than him? You already have him.

"You want a young striker - Tammy Abraham! He's yours. He knows the club. He was made at the club, he was educated at the club. He was on loan, he played already some matches in the Premier League, he plays in the Championship but Championship at the highest level with the responsibility to play at a big club like Aston Villa. He's ready.

"Do you need to buy a young centre forward? No! And Chelsea were criticised many times with the number of players they had on loan, more than 30 players, 40 players, but now the moment arrived and they have answers like nobody else could have.

"The only problem for them is obvious which is that they lost a phenomenal player. Eden Hazard was a special player for Chelsea and they lost him, apart from that I don't see any problem for them."

Chelsea have won four of their six pre-season matches under Lampard, including Wednesday's 5-3 victory over Red Bull Salzburg, but face a tough opening to the Premier League season with a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on August 11.

The Europa League winners then take on European champions Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup in what is a daunting start for Lampard in terms of competitive fixtures.

But Mourinho thinks only time will tell whether the former England star - "a tremendous professional" in his eyes - is going to be a success in the dugout.

"You know, time will see," Mourinho said. "Only time. It would be nice and easy for me to say, because I love him, that he's going to be a phenomenal manager.

"It would be very nice for me to say, but I'm not going to say that, and I cannot also say I don't believe he's going to do it, because that's not the way I feel.

"I feel that he has potential, I feel that he loves, which is a very important thing, he loves - that's the reason why he is there - and I wish him the best but only time can speak and in a few years we will see.

"What I always saw in Frank was an example of a professional. I was lucky to have so many untouchables, but he was one of the untouchable players I had in my career. A tremendous professional. Tremendous."

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