Rewind to United’s pre-season tour to the United States and there was palpable disharmony within the group and Jose Mourinho‘s relationship with chief executive Ed Woodward was at boiling points over lack of activity in the transfer market.
Fast forward to Thursday morning, however, and Woodward and Mourinho were shaking hands after arriving back from Turin following one of their greatest Champions League triumphs of recent times.
Ed Woodward (left) and Jose Mourinho shake hands after arriving back in England on Thursday
The pair have endured a fractious relationship but appear to be have mended their problems
The United chief executive will be hugely impressed with Mourinho’s men in the last few weeks
The 2-1 win over Juventus was certainly United’s best Champions League result under Mourinho, whose side leapfrogged Valencia into second place in Group H.
The image of Woodward warmly embracing Mourinho is worlds away from that tetchy tunnel exchange the pair endured after United beat Real Madrid at the end of their tumultuous pre-season tour.
Mourinho had heavily criticised the lack of recruitment at Old Trafford throughout summer, as well the state of the squad he took to across the Atlantic, essentially pointing the finger at Woodward for deals that have not been done.
In the exchange in the Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, the United boss failed to crack a smile at any point during the conversation and was seen shrugging and shaking his head.
But Thursday morning’s greeting was far friendlier. It comes after United’s players have shown tremendous resolve in recent weeks, inflicting a series of hugely impressive wins, many of which from behind, which, on the face of it, shows they are fighting for their boss.
It is a world away from this tetchy exchange between the pair on the pre-season tour
Woodward ran after Mourinho following a 2-1 win over Real Madrid at the Hard Rock Stadium
The win in Turin caps off a rollercoaster few weeks for Mourinho and Co. Comeback wins against Newcastle and Bournemouth, as well as a draw against high-flying Chelsea, have shown signs that United’s season could be on the up.
Juan Mata’s stunning free-kick and an own goal from Alex Sandro in the final five minutes at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night kept United firmly on course for the knockout stages.
It certainly will put a spring in their step ahead of Sunday’s derby match against Premier League leaders Manchester City as Mourinho slowly starts to turn United’s season around.
United had fallen behind to Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning volley in Turin but enacted a late turnaround that was reward for a bold and spirited performance.
Though United remain second behind Juventus in Group H, the margin is just two points and they will qualify for the last 16 if they beat Young Boys at Old Trafford in their next game and the Italian giants beat Valencia.
Juan Mata began the tremendous turnaround with a stunning free-kick to level the Turin tie
And an own goal, bundled in by Juve’s Alex Sandro, completed an incredible comeback win
After the game, Mourinho was keen to milk the moment having celebrated enthusiastically at the final whistle, leading to a confrontation with several Juventus players.
‘Probably when Manchester United had heroics here (in 2003), Manchester United was the best team,’ Mourinho said.
‘And they (Juventus) are a top team for many years now. They bought that player (Ronaldo), they want to win everything, they can win everything and we are a team where many of the players didn’t play big matches like this in the Champions League.
‘So, it is a different situation but it is a fantastic victory for us – a victory that is not just about the points we lost at home, it is about the feeling of how well we played.
‘And I think even if this game doesn’t end with a victory, I would have the same feeling that the team played really, really well from the first minute – I repeat – against a super team.’
United have shown great resolve in recent weeks and the win in Turin topped it off