Former Manchester United great Eric Cantona has backed Jose Mourinho's squad to get back to challenging for top honours, three years since they last won the Premier League.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired after winning the league in 2013, Manchester United have finished seventh, fourth and fifth, their only major trophy during that time being last season's FA Cup.

"It's just the beginning. Manchester can still be champions. Jose Mourinho is a successful manager at a successful club which this year has successful players," the former French international said in an interview published Wednesday in Portuguese daily newspaper Publico.

"But this is an extremely difficult championship, full of great teams and great managers like (Manchester City coach) Pep Guardiola," he added.

The club kicked off their league campaign this season with three straight wins under Mourinho, but slumped to back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Watford.

They are in sixth place in the English Premier League table with 12 points after seven matches.