Juan Mata has shed light on a buoyant Manchester United dressing room following their 4-0 win over West Ham United on Sunday.
The Spaniard, despite spending two weeks injured on the sidelines over pre-season, was an ebullient, crafty presence on the right hand side against Slaven Bilic’s side.
And Mata, writing in his weekly blog, noted that spirits were high following such an emphatic result.
“The team worked harmoniously, we had some spells of great football and our shots on goal were good,” he wrote.
“Personally, I enjoyed myself on the pitch and I believe all my team-mates did the same. Some of them (Nemanja and Romelu) made their debut as Reds in the Theatre of Dreams and I’m sure they will always keep very nice memories of this day. Same as I do with my game against Cardiff, already a few years ago.
“It was a joy to have a game like this one, we needed it after failing to win the first title of the season in Skopje. I was really pleased to see our fans happy after the game, on their way home, and also your reactions on the social media, of course.
“I hope we can have many more games like that, even better if they are 37 :-). Obviously we know it will be complicated, because this is the toughest league in the world and every single game is a difficult test. These are the first three points, and they will be even more important at the end of the season.
“Also, the year is going to be specially exciting because we are back in the Champions League, and we don’t forget the two Cups, of course. That’s a lot of things to fight for, as usual, so we have to go little by little, stay together and work tirelessly. That’s how you get to your long-term goals.”
Mourinho’s men dragged themselves through glass and fire last season, dropping like flies through injury or suspension in a 64 game campaign that, crucially, handed them Europa League glory and a place in the Champions League.
And now, following a successful summer of preparation, this looks like a side not just bound together by Mourinho’s methods but indeed by spirit as well. There is a real sense of harmony developing in the dressing room, you sense, and that was on show against West Ham. They enjoyed being out there together in the Old Trafford sun, ruthlessly going about their work and already showing signs of straying away from the frustration felt at home against lesser sides a year ago.
How far this collective spirit will take them over the next nine months – and beyond that – is a truly exciting prospect.