The 23-year-old Swede was left out of the match squad for Sunday’s emphatic 4-0 victory over West Ham United at Old Trafford, while fellow new boys Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic both started and impressed.
Lindelof had a poor pre-season with his new club but particularly struggled in Tuesday’s Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid, and Mourinho has now admitted that the £31m acquisition from Benfica was not ready for that game.
“I think Real Madrid was too early for him,” Mourinho said. “He played because Jones and Bailly were both suspended.
“I’ve had players coming from different leagues to the Premier League and normally it’s not easy. The difference between Lukaku and Matic is that they have years and years [of experience in] the Premier League.
“I brought in 2004 a phenomenal central defender to England: Ricardo Carvalho. He was one of the best central defenders in the last decade of the Premier League, but he struggled.
“It was difficult for him to adapt in the beginning. I think Victor is a little bit of that and he’s going to have that time.”
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Mourinho treated Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a similar fashion upon the Armenian’s arrival from Borussia Dortmund last year and suggested Lindelof could need a similar period on the sidelines.
“Mkhitaryan is not a defender and last season he needed his time. Let’s go step-by-step, because Victor is a fantastic player.”