Manchester United continue preparations for what they hope will be a return to the top of the Premier League, as they take on German Bundesliga powerhouse Borussia Dortmund in the opener of the pre-season International Champions Cup tournament in a match which will stream live from China on Friday.
Under new manager Jose Mourinho, and with former Paris Saint-Germain and Sweden superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic newly installed in the striker’s role — with the potential addition of France midfielder Paul Pogba — the 20-time English champions look to climb back on top in the 2016-2017 Premier league campaign.
— Goal UK (@GoalUK) July 21, 2016
Manchester United finished in fifth place last season, missing out on Champions League competition in the upcoming campaign. In fact, in the three years of the post-Alex Ferguson era, Manchester United has missed out on the Champions League twice, and qualified once with a fourth-place finish, only to go out of the elite European club tournament at the group stage.
United won their first pre-season friendly match earlier this week, topping Championship side Wigan Athletic 2-0.
But Mourinho told MUTV that the clash against Borussia Dortmund will be his club’s first real test, especially with the Bundesliga squad already compiling five pre-season matches.
“They started training a couple of weeks before us and they didn’t have so many players like we did in the Copa America and the Euros. So basically they only have two or three players out, they have the whole team working together for about a month and I repeat they have played five matches,” Mourinho said. “So I expect to see two teams in different moments of their preparation, but it is good for us because it is more of a challenge.”
Watch Mourinho’s full press conference leading up to the clash against Borussia Dortmund in the video below.
To watch the Manchester United vs. Borussia Dortmund pre-season International Champions Cup opening match, try the video below — or see the streaming link in the final paragraph of this article. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. China Standard Time at Shanghai Stadium in Shanghai, China, on Friday, July 22. For fans in the United States, that kickoff time will be 8 a.m. Eastern Time, 5 a.m. Pacific.
Ibrahimovic is not expected to play in the match against Borussia Dortmund, or in the second and final match in China for Manchester United, when the Red Devils face crosstown rivals Manchester City in Beijing on Monday.
“Ibra” is reportedly still recovering from his stint with Sweden in the 2016 Euros. But the 34-year-old is expected to take part next week in his home country when his new team faces Turkish side Galatasaray in Gothenburg next week, according to a report in Britain’s Independent newspaper.
Manchester United new boy Zlatan Ibrahimovic to wear No 9 shirt as club reveal provisional squad No’s for 201… https://t.co/ak1krgI5tl
— Sports Index (@SportsIndexUK) July 21, 2016
Mourinho dismissed concerns that Ibrahomovic, approaching the end of his career, would crack under the pressures of a grueling English Premier League season.
“Let’s be honest, he is very rich. He’s made money all his career, he’s won a lot of things, so you only come to the most difficult championship in the world if you feel you can do it,” Mourinho said. “If you don’t feel you can do it, you go to America, China or stay in the French League one more season. So the guy wanted this one more challenge.”
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ESPN3, the online-only network of sports giant ESPN, will carry the Manchester United Vs. Borussia Dortmund International Champions Cup pre-season match live online, with streaming video from Shanghai Stadium in Shanghai, China. Click on this link to watch the matchup pitting the English Premier League powerhouse who are hoping to make this year a return to preeminence, against the German giants who placed second in last season’s Bundesliga — legally and for free — on a computer or on mobile and set-top devices with ESPN3 on the WatchESPN app. ESPN3 is free to subscribers of almost any major internet service provider and dozens of smaller ISPs. For a complete list, check this link, or try the instructions at this link if you do not have an account with an ISP that carries ESPN3.
[Featured Photo By Paul Gilham / Getty Images]