Phil Jones has explained how Jose Mourinho has improved Manchester United’s first team since arriving last summer, pointing towards how the Portuguese has restored the side’s fighting spirit over the last few months.
The Portuguese had to endure a rocky start to life at Old Trafford, managing just two Premier League wins between September and early December as he continued to shift his group of players away from the embedded dogma imposed by former manager Louis van Gaal.
He has, however, overseen an immense change in mood in recent times after claiming the League Cup and leading his side to an unbeaten run of 18 games in the league.
And Jones, who has undergone a superb resurgence under the 54-year-old, was quick to point towards the fighting spirit commanded by the boss this season.
“We’ve got strength in depth in the squad and it showed,” he said.
“When we’ve dropped points so has everyone else and when we’ve won so has everyone else, so that’s why we’ve been in same position for so long.
“But for us it doesn’t matter. We just concentrate on every game and we are up to fifth now. It shows the fight in the squad – not literally – but it shows we’re prepared to fight for each other.
“You can’t buy that. It’s in everyone. It rubs off on us from the manager.
“It’s all about a willingness to win and fight for each other. Whatever formation we play or the tactics we play, ultimately it’s about the fight in every player and we’re showing that at the moment.”
You can easily point towards a number of stats to demonstrate United’s improvement under Mourinho: more points, more shots, fewer sideways passes and more goals.
But numbers cannot fully account for the true extent of United’s resurgence this season. You can see that, unlike last season, there is a genuine belief amongst the players in the path they are heading down under Mourinho. He has, as is the case with any club he embarks upon, engendered a valuable sense of collective spirit and desire at Old Trafford, which is now a place supporters enjoy visiting again.