Wayne Rooney says Jose Mourinho’s winning mentality has sharpened the mind of Manchester United players.
Life since Sir Alex Ferguson brought the curtain down on his remarkable reign has been galling for a club synonymous with success.
Last season’s FA Cup is the only major trophy United had to show for the subsequent three seasons, with the 20-time Premier League champions even failing to qualify for the Champions League in two of those campaigns.
Mourinho is now entrusted with restoring the club to the top of the English game and United captain Rooney has praised the Portuguese’s influence at Old Trafford.
“He’s obviously a top manager – I think his record at all the clubs he’s been at shows that,” the club’s all-time top scorer said.
“I think he knows what he wants from the players, and the players know what the manager wants from them.
“He’s strong in that sense but as long as you’re doing what he wants, then I’m sure you’ll be fine.
“I think you can see he has got a winning mentality – not that we didn’t have that already, but he’s certainly reminded us of that.”
There is still work to do, though, highlighted by the fact United sit sixth in the Premier League – albeit just five points split them and second-placed Tottenham.
Rooney on top-four hopes
Rooney accepts leaders Chelsea – 14 points better off than United – are all but out of reach, but is confident of providing some memorable moments before the season is out.
“I think it’s going okay,” he told GQ. “We’re in a good position in terms of making the top four.
“Obviously our ambition was to try and be champions, which will be difficult now. We know that.
“But we’re right there in terms of trying to place ourselves in the top four.
“We’re still in the Europa League, in the final of the League Cup and still in the FA Cup, so they’re trophies we believe we’ve got a strong enough squad to go and win these.
“Then obviously now probably we have to look at trying to finish in the top four.”