Mourinho led United to the League Cup and Europa League before being dismissed in December 2018.
While there is still a long way to go before they reach the heights of Liverpool last season, or the current Manchester City crop, there is a growing belief that Manchester United are moving in the right direction.
United again failed to beat a top-six rival on Sunday as they played out a scoreless stalemate with Chelsea on Sunday.
The result leaves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side 12 points adrift of pacesetters Manchester City, who have pulled clear following a stunning run of form.
The draw at Stamford Bridge was a familiar outcome for United, who are yet to score a goal from open-play against the so-called ‘big six’ this season.
However, despite their continued attacking woes against the bigger teams, Gary Neville is upbeat about where United are heading under Solskjaer.
Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast for Sky Sports, the former United defender said Solskjaer’s squad ‘look like they want to play with each other,’ something he feels wasn’t the case when Jose Mourinho was in charge.
‘I thought it was a strange bunch of lads’ – Neville on Mourinho’s United.
“That’s why I think this Manchester United team is better suited than the one from two or three years ago under Jose Mourinho that finished second,” said Neville.
“I actually feel there’s a better spirit. I think they’ve got a far better chance of winning the league in the next two or three years than they were under Jose a couple of years ago.
“I thought it was a strange bunch of lads, they just didn’t seem to like each other. They didn’t really appeal to me as a fan. I think they’re going in the right direction. Whether they get there or not, that’s another matter; we’ll know in the future. But they’re certainly going in the right direction.”
Neville also pointed to United’s impressive unbeaten run on the road as an indicator of the progress the club have made since Solskjaer replaced Mourinho in December 2018.
“Over the last 12 months, Manchester United have put an incredible run of results together,” he added.
“The points tally has been big, year to year. Their away form is outstanding and that that takes some resilience, to go 20 games unbeaten away from home.
“I think this team is better suited than the one from two or three years ago under Jose Mourinho that finished second. I actually feel there’s a better spirit.”
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“I come back to my time at Manchester United, if I came to Stamford Bridge, and we kept a clean sheet and we came away with a point. We quite often lost to Chelsea at Old Trafford, let alone at Stamford Bridge, we had a poor record against them. You always want to win every single game – but this is a tough place to play.
“So those Manchester United players going back on that bus tonight can say that they’ve taken part in those 20 matches away from home, they deserve great congratulations for that.
“There’ll be some criticism from United fans saying why didn’t they go and win it, why weren’t they more positive, and rightly so. United should always strive to do that.
“But to actually go 20 games away from home needs applauding because it’s hard to do that.