Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has heaped praise on Jose Mourinho for the progress made at Old Trafford this season.
The 54-year-old endured a difficult start to life at Man United, managing just two Premier League wins from September to early December.
However, following a resurgence over the Christmas period, Mourinho’s men enter February still fighting on four fronts as the season’s business end approaches.
And Schmeichel, speaking on Sky Sports News HQ, was quick to point out the improvements overseen by the 54-year-old during such a short period of time.
“I think it’s been fantastic, I expected it to be another bumpy year. Jose has inherited a squad of players and he will have had to assess every one of them,” he said.
“He is doing that quicker than I thought he would have done. Plus, the four additions in the summer [Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba], they have all been really good.
“We are getting back to a Manchester United way of playing, which I didn’t expect so quickly, so I am optimistic for the future.
“I think Jose has always tried to protect the lead but it is not in our DNA to [do so], it’s to get number two, number three and number four.
“[But] he has sent the players out to get two, three and four. It’s great to watch and hopefully it’s going to be evolved and developed.
“I would be very disappointed if we are not top four. There is a lot of progress, the team is shaping up and the club is getting back into its own rhythm, its own groove.”
The most striking change delivered by Mourinho this season is that, above anything, United are worth watching again. In the 36 games overseen by the Portuguese, United have scored four or more goals on six occasions – two more than what they managed in 103 games under Louis van Gaal.
Mourinho’s men possess an invaluable aptitude for exciting, for causing drama and dominating headlines. The fact that rival supporters cannot stop talking about United suggests that, finally, they pose a threat once more.