Jose Mourinho has likened his task in hand at Manchester United to his tenure at Real Madrid.
United have eight more points after 17 games than they did at this stage last season, Mourinho's first in charge at old Trafford, but they lie second in the Premier League table – 11 points behind Pep Guardiola's record-breaking Manchester City.
Chasing Guardiola is a familiar feeling for Mourinho, who took over at Madrid in 2010 with his counterpart in charge of a dominant Barcelona.
He managed to bring LaLiga glory to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2011-12 - the club's first league triumph in four seasons and one that preceded Guardiola stepping down as Barca boss, pausing a rivalry that has reignited around last weekend's Manchester derby.
United's previous Premier League crown arrived in Alex Ferguson's farewell 2012-13 campaign and, following the underwhelming tenures of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, Mourinho feels he was once again tasked with picking up the pieces.
"I knew that it was not going to be an easy job," said the former Chelsea and Inter boss, whose United deal runs until the end of next season. "I had that experience before.
"You go to clubs with a huge history, where people look to the history and not to the moment and the expectations are high but the job is difficult.
"But I had that experience before in other clubs. When I went to Real Madrid we were in a difficult moment.
"No league title for many years, no cup title for many years, not even a Champions League quarter-final.
"It was good for my development as a manager, which is something [developing] that I always try to do."
United's haul of 38 points would have made them Premier League leaders 12 months ago, not something Mourinho is keen to dwell upon as he accepts City's purple patch of a 15-match winning run in the top-flight going into Saturday's match against Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.
"We are second," said the Portuguese, who takes his players to West Brom on Sunday.
"With this number of points we would be first in other season, yes, but we are second. This is where we are. Not first, not fit.
"As I was saying, one match at a time. Let's see at the end of the season where we are."
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