Jose Mourinho is quickly becoming a distant memory at Manchester United.
The Portuguese was sacked in December with the Red Devils closer in terms of points to the relegation zone than the top of the table.
In contrast, the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revival has seen them drop just two points and advance in the FA Cup.
As a result, the 45-year-old was named Manager of the Month for January, the first United boss to win the award since Sir Alex Ferguson.
And it's fitting that several of the players who have been key to that turnaround are exactly the same misfits who were struggling to impress Mourinho.
Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, and Marcus Rashford are now the club's top scorers this season, with 11, 10, and 10 goals respectively.
While nobody is taking anything away from Solskjaer's achievements, there has been no great tactical revolution or technical secret behind his impact.
Simply put, the players finally look happy. Their interim manager is letting them play football and encouraging them to express themselves.
It's a damning indictment of Mourinho's reign; he frequently criticised players publicly, with Luke Shaw, Martial, and Pogba feeling the brunt of his wrath.
Lineker criticises Mourinho
In discussing Solskjaer's audition for the permanent job, pundit Gary Lineker couldn't help but admit that Mourinho's public floggings of his own playing staff was one of his 'pet hates'.
Lineker is quoted by the Mirror:
“You look at the whole side and the world has left their shoulders. It was like carrying a weight and it was dragging everyone down. The manager was being a bit negative towards them in the press.
“That’s one of my pet hates. I think a manager is there to protect his players, support his players publicly, say what you like in dressing rooms and privately. Managers do scream and shout, have a go at players and we’ve all had a good rollicking. But that’s a different thing to doing it publicly.
“I don’t think there’s that many who do it. Not like he was doing it at Man United, he just didn’t seem like the right fit and then was kind of blaming the world.
“You will never get players to perform for you for when that happens. So you’ve got to be really careful as a manager. You can say: ‘oh, the team had an off day today, blah, blah.’ But when you start making little comments about individuals and players...
“You could see that old ‘lost dressing room’ thing. No player goes out there and doesn’t try, it doesn’t work like that, but it’s those tiny percentages in sport.
“If there’s a little belief, if you’ve been dragged down, if you’ve lost a little bit of confidence, if that becomes a lot of players and not just one or two, then that becomes what they mean by losing the dressing room. That’s pretty much what happened.”
There is no question that the mood have improved under Solskjaer, but it remains to be seen whether he will be rewarded for his early success with a stab at the job long-term.
That could depend on whether he can secure what looked an unlikely top-four finish and progression in the Champions League past PSG.
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