Jose Mourinho discussed Manchester United’s transfer plans during a press conference in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, explaining his squad is not as big as many people believe.

The manager initially named a 27-man party for Tour 2017, presented by Aon, (that became 28 when Romelu Lukaku signed) but three of the group – Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young – boarded the plane to the US with long-term injuries.

Spanish forward Juan Mata has since joined the list of unavailable players after hurting his ankle during the 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah on Monday night.

United’s next match is against local rivals Manchester City at the NRG Stadium and, at the pre-match press conference, Mourinho was asked by one journalist if he might sell any players this summer.

“The problem with us is that we have four players that cannot play football now, not even training, so it looks like our group is big but it is not because they can’t even train,” he said. “The recovery time is really long. We look at Marcos and there is no chance he can play before December.

“Our squad is not so big. Everybody knows, because I told the objective, I would like four players and I have asked for four players, and I am ready to go from four to three because the market is difficult.

“Some clubs think about the market differently to others. We are not a club that is ready to buy and buy non-stop. We are not a club that is ready to pay what the clubs want us to pay.

“So I am ready to go from four to three. With three I just give a better balance to the team and the squad, and it gives us better conditions to compete.”

Mourinho was also quizzed on some of the transfer fees paid by Premier League clubs this summer, with a reporter specifically bringing up Manchester City’s capture of Kyle Walker from Tottenham Hotspur for a report £50million. The boss pointed out it is simply part of the modern game.

“It doesn’t surprise me really,” Jose explained. “I keep saying there is a big economic power in every club that allows the clubs to say no, or to say you pay what I want or you don’t get it. I can imagine Manchester City would like to pay £25million for Kyle, I can imagine that, but I am sure they knocked on Spurs’ door and they were told this is the price. If you don’t it then you don’t get it.

“Then you have the option to pay or the option to say no. The market will always be what people ask and what people pay. The strange thing is now I am used to seeing teams paying big amounts for big players. Now, everybody is paying big amounts for good players. There is a difference between good players and big players. Now the figures are also really crazy for normal players.”