Marcos Rojo has been discussing his recent run of excellent form under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
The Argentine begun the Mourinho era very much on the periphery of proceedings, and had to wait until Man United’s 3-1 over Swansea City in early November for his first Premier League start.
Since then, the often criticised 26-year-old has surprised everyone with a string of superb performances alongside Phil Jones, featuring in every Premier League game.
Rojo, speaking to MUTV, reflected on the past year and looked ahead to upcoming contests with Sunderland and Middlesbrough.
“I think it’s been an interesting year for me,” he said.
“Various things happened. I had the FA Cup win at United and then went on to the Copa America. Unfortunately, we (Argentina) weren’t able to win that but it was still an important moment for me.
“Now, at this time of the season, at the end of the year, we need to finish strongly and win as many games as possible. Looking towards 2017, we must play as well as we can and, hopefully, why not win a trophy at some point.”
“Obviously, it would be lovely to have a little rest and spend some time with my family but I understand the tradition during this time. The atmosphere is particularly special in the stadium so it’s something I enjoy.
“We have to play as we usually do and be concentrated to not give them anything for free.”
The resurgence of Rojo serves as another example of Mourinho’s galvanising influence at Old Trafford. He was, not so long ago, a confidence-sapped, notoriously unreliable figure at the back, consigned to playing catch-up with the likes of Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind.
But this is what Mourinho, for all his criticism, can do. Under the 53-year-old’s tutelage Rojo has gone from a shaky, painfully immobile liability to a powerful, robust warrior at the heart of defence, overseeing a series of powerful defensive displays alongside Jones.
Rojo’s belief has been restored: belief in the direction of his team, and most importantly belief in himself.