The Spaniard has been an effervescent force under Mourinho, producing a series of commanding, dedicated performances from defensive midfield.
His rise to prominence led to a well-deserved call-up for the Spanish national side earlier this month.
Speaking after Man United’s 0-0 draw at Anfield, Mourinho was quick to shower praise on the 27-year-old.
“Some players they are better than with some managers than others, with Ander he is working better with me than with other managers,” he said.
“You have more empathy, more understanding and you are more adaptive to the ideas.
“Ander was liking that when I arrived because he feels all of that and is more confident.”
— Man Utd Universe (@ManUtdUniverse) October 17, 2016
The bond between Herrera and Mourinho was displayed in emphatic fashion against Liverpool on Monday night. Deployed in defensive midfield, the Spaniard acted as the nucleus of Mourinho’s game plan, bringing both tenacity and discipline to a furious midfield battle.
Such an approach notably permeated the entire United side, giving rise to a scrappy, charged encounter, with Herrera at its core, charging across the pitch like a man possessed.
Many expected a demolition of United’s seemingly immobile midfield at Anfield: as it was, Mourinho had a game plan, and Herrera was at the heart of it, producing a captain-without-the-armband-esque performance.