Rio Ferdinand has pulled back on earlier predictions that United would win the league but has now praised their progress and backed them to finish in the top four.
The ex-Manchester United defender still believes that Mourinho’s freer style of management, in conrast to previous manager Lous van Gaal’s, is a big plus to United, but has also conceded he needs to be given more time to rebuild the squad.
“The next window will be a big one for Untied in terms of getting players out and getting some in who will invigorate this squad and be able to carry out his methods.” Ferdinand said.
Manchester United have brought in two of the biggest world-star footballers in Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Paul Pogba in the summer, but Ferdinand believes a touch or two more is needed in the transfer market.
“I like what Mourinho has done. He has shown again that he is a top manager. We have seen with Pep how difficult it is to get it right. Jose is doing that really well.
“He would want to be further up the table but you can see you can see the characteristics of United of old. I always thought at the beginning Jose had a really tough job – because of the squad. Not just because of the profile of the players but because of the mentality that was ingrained in those footballers.
“The confidence levels were really low, the style of football they were taught to play was alien to Manchester United in terms of the characteristics and history of the club. It is a big job, without even thinking what players he had there in terms of changing the whole psyche.”
Untied occupy the sixth position and are currently on a 17-games undefeated run, with their last league defeat at the hands of table leaders Chelsea in October. After a slow start, the two star signings have also started firing on all cylinders with Ibrahimovic having scored 14 goals in 21 matches.
“A lot will determine on the players they bought in, like Pogba and Zlatan who has been phenomenal and Mikhtarian, who is starting to show what he can do.
“They are the three players who can take the club forward but there is still work to be done. United need to finish in the top four this season, but it will be difficult. It is tight there: they are fighting with Liverpool and City.
“I hope they finish in the top four. But it is difficult. United have not lost in 17 games but have drawn a lot. I would rather lose a few and get wins, in terms of points. That has been the frustrating thing.
“They have played well in that period but they have dropped points through silly areas. If they want to finish in the top four they have to defend diligently and take their chances. It’s not rocket science.”