Life under Jose Mourinho really couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for Manchester United.
After three years of decline, the Old Trafford club won the Community Shield and are joint-top of the Premier League with a 100 per cent record from two games.
It’s premature to say that the fear factor that propelled United to 13 Premier League titles across Sir Alex Ferguson’s era is back, but it’s not wrong to suggest that it is returning.
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With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba arriving in the summer, United sent out a clear message that they can attract the world’s best players even without having Champions League football this season.
And five goals in two games - including three from Ibrahimovic - has supporters eyeing the title.
United hero Rio Ferdinand, who won six league titles during a glittering career at the club, reckons his former team are on the right path to returning to the glory days.
Why? Because that aura is returning.
“What it looks like is teams are in the tunnel looking across and saying ‘oh that’s Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], oh that’s [Paul] Pogba’ and that is what it used to be like,” Ferdinand said in an interview with talkSPORT.
“You used to win the games in the tunnel sometimes.
“They still have to prove that, they get it initially but they have to go out and prove it and, including the Community Shield [win over Leicester] they have done that.
“That fear factor will start to grow the longer they go on and win.”
United have replaced one stubborn manager with another. But personalities aside, the difference between Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho is nowhere more evident than on the pitch.
“The biggest change for them, other than the players they have bought, is the mentality shift,” Ferdinand, 37, added.
“Under Van Gaal for the last two years there’s been a negative vibe around, not only the football team, but the place.
“I think that’s changed with Mourinho and one of his biggest obstacles would have been to change the mentality of the players, from playing sideways and trying to nick games here and there to being a team that dominates physically, tactically and all over the park.
“It’s a huge shift for them this season.”