Manchester United appear to have turned a corner in recent weeks.
The Red Devils look a far more cohesive unit than the one we watched stutter through the first couple of months of the season.
An insipid run of four matches without a win between late September and mid-October nearly cost Jose Mourinho his job, but a remarkable fightback against Newcastle United eased some of the immediate pressure.
Since that 3-2 win at Old Trafford, United have drawn away to Chelsea, narrowly lost to Juventus, taken maximum Premier League points and beaten the Old Lady in Turin.
Some would argue the visitors should’ve been on the end of the 2-1 result - not that Mourinho will care in the slightest.
The Portuguese - who isn’t completely out of the woods just yet - has another tough task ahead of him this weekend in Manchester City at the Etihad.
United could climb as high as fifth on the league table if they take all three points from the Manchester Derby, but that would require a particularly special effort from the visitors.
It’s far from out of the question, though.
Mourinho deserves some credit for not only stabilising his side but triggering a resurgence among several influential players.
Anthony Martial is perhaps the best example in this rejuvenated squad, having scored five goals in his last six outings, including a brace at Stamford Bridge.
While it’s no coincidence the Frenchman was recalled to national team duty yesterday, Mourinho also believes he had a direct impact on his return to form.
When asked why we’re suddenly seeing the best of Martial, the 55-year-old told the official club website: “I never gave up.
“I never gave up my feelings that this was the right way for him, even if he had to go through difficult moments.
“I knew that for him to become a really top player, he needed to overcome some barriers that I put on the road for him. It is up to his talent, because he has phenomenal talent.
“It was just a question of him understanding what a top player is because there is a big difference between a top talent and a top player.”
The former Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid boss has always been lauded for his man-management ability - even though his approach has been heavily criticised at Old Trafford.
However, his capacity to inspire a player who truly wants to work for him is virtually unquestionable.
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