Former Liverpool and Scotland midfielder Don Hutchinson has insisted that Jose Mourinho is “building the foundations” at Manchester United this season.
The Portuguese endured a difficult start to life at Old Trafford that saw his Man United side fall nine points behind fourth spot by early December.
But following a superb resurgence over the Christmas period, United are now just two points off fourth spot and four behind second-placed Manchester City.
And Hutchinson, speaking earlier this week, made it clear that the 54-year-old was heading in the right direction at Old Trafford.
“He is building the foundations,” he said.
“When you look at the Chelsea side that he had – they went so long with an unbelievable home record, literally like years and he is doing the same thing at Man United.
“When you think this time next year, they are going to be so much better. Mkhitaryan’s numbers at Dortmund were 20 odd assists and 28 goals whatever it was, he was on fire at the weekend and his numbers are going to be better this time next year.
“They might have people like [Antoine] Griezmann, [Paul] Pogba, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], young boys such as [Marcus] Rashford and [Anthony] Martial and [Eric] Bailly, who probably didn’t get a mention and he was excellent at the weekend as well.”
Mourinho, ever since arriving at the club in June, has been ruthless in his rebuilding job at Old Trafford. He identified four key signings in the summer and got them all; he pushed Wayne Rooney out of the starting XI; he pushed Bastian Schweinsteiger out of the squad and reintroduced him after the German begun to display the right work rate; he removed Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay after judging that they were not United standard; he challenged the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial by leaving them out of the starting XI, forcing them to work even harder on their game.
All of this falls in line with Mourinho’s desire to set the foundations for a club that can, after three years of anonymity, finally display the approach needed to challenge at the very top once again.