Xavi: Mourinho wants war, not football

Former Barcelona stalwart Xavi Hernandez feels Manchester United won't be in contention for the Premier League title this term, saying their best chance of claiming silverware is in the domestic cups.

Hernandez, 36, is currently on the books of Qatari outfit Al Sadd after parting ways with Barcelona at the end of the 2014/15 La Liga season.

The experienced midfielder has first-hand experience of what to expect from a Mourinho-coached side, having come up against the Portuguese coach on more than one occasion while he was at the helm of Real Madrid.

And, having seen the Red Devils boss make a mixed start to life at Old Trafford, he is of the opinion that United are already out of the title race.

"The domestic competitions have to be everything for United and Mourinho this season," Xavi was quoted as saying by the Mirror.

"I don't think this season they can win the Premier League. These competitions are their hope for a trophy.

"Once Mourinho has had another transfer window, maybe they'll be ready, but for now they must secure a finish in a Champions League spot – that's where United belong."

He added: "Sometimes, when things don't go well for Mourinho, he wants war, not football – like when he was at [Real] Madrid – and I hope we don't see that again in England."

While things have not gone according to plan for United and their new manager, the same can be said for their cross-town rivals.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will be hoping to steer his side back to winning ways when they take on Mourinho's men in the EFL Cup fourth round on Wednesday evening.

The Citizens are winless in their last fixtures, following a disappointing 1-1 draw with Southampton at the Etihad on Sunday.

However, Xavi is convinced that the Citizens will claim the Premier League crown this season, despite the recent run of results.

He added: "Both coaches are going to want to win this game," said Xavi. "I don't believe this is a competition they will not take seriously.

"Pep will not be worrying, that's not his way – but he will not have been happy with recent results – and a good win against the biggest rivals could put them on a good run again.

"Pep will also want to win his first competition with City, that will be important for him. Even with City dropping some points in the league, I still think under Pep they'll be champions this season."