Man United endured a tricky transitional period during the early stages of the campaign, managing just two Premier League wins from September to early December.
But Mourinho’s men have mounted a resurgence in recent times, enjoying a nine-game winning run over the Christmas period, but remain rooted to sixth spot.
And De Gea, when asked why United, despite spending big over the summer, remain outside the Champions League spots, said: “This is football. In the end, all clubs spend money,”
“There are things that go well and others that do not. The team has to adapt because new players have arrived. Now I think we are much better, but we have to give this team time to win the Premier League again.”
This is the same quip levelled at United by any outsider. On the face of it, spending £146m over the summer and only managing sixth spot by February spells failure.
But such a view misses the bigger picture: Mourinho’s men remain fighting on all four fronts this season, just five points off second spot, invoking a style of football and mentality that eclipses anything previously seen during the post-Fergie era. The fact that United fans continue to support the 54-year-old’s methods, despite their side being sixth, demonstrates that the Portuguese is on the right track.