The Spaniard, deployed alongside Michael Carrick in midfield, was an energetic, dedicated force all game, taking control of proceedings towards the latter stages of the first half as the home side began to take control.
Mourinho, speaking after the game, was quick to point out how valuable Herrera’s contribution was.
United fans would have first seen Herrera during their side’s Europa League encounter with Athletic Bilbao in 2012. The Spaniard was utilised in an advanced role that night, supplying ammunition for Fernando Llorente. He was, alongside the effervescent Munian, an effervescent, unyielding force going forward, producing a constant supply of pin-point passes and beautiful turns.
Above anything, it felt as if this was Herrera’s natural position, like he was born to play there. And yet, his display against Man City indicated that Mourinho is blessed with a true footballing polymath.
This is a man capable of mastering all aspects of midfield. He enjoys the ugly, ruthless side of the game as much as he enjoys threading through balls to strikers. And this, in a way, is what makes the Spaniard so special: no matter where he players, regardless of context, he is there, ready to throw everything on the line for his side.