Manchester United have to be considered as serious contenders for the Premier League and Champions League this season following their excellent start to the new season, thanks to their manager Jose Mourinho.
They have finally found the right man to take the club forward following a period of transition after appointing three managers in four years and the club once again are a team to be feared.
Romelu Lukaku has been in sensational from since his £75 million move from Everton this summer.
The 24-year-old netted his tenth goal in all competitions on Wednesday as United ran out comfortable winners over CSKA Moscow with Jose’s men on course to emerge from group A into the business end of the competition after Christmas.
Mourinho has been very clever in the transfer market this summer signing both Lukaku and Nemanja Matic, two players he knows better than anyone and both used to living in England and used to the Premier League.
The Serbian himself winning the league twice during his time at Chelsea.
While pundits are quick to suggest Manchester United have yet to be tested and that is true to a point, the fact is they are winning the games they struggled to win in recent seasons.
Their Europa League experiences last season has shown his players how to grind out wins against lesser sides looking for an upset.
Lukaku was brought in to replace the goals lost by the cruel injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and he has hit the ground running, with the Swede waiting in the wings for his return to action which when it happens will be a huge boost to the squad.
Their squad is as strong as it has been since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson with a huge influence of youth within the starting eleven and on the bench, also like the days of Sir Alex.
They look a happier settled squad with media professionals covering the team since the summer noting a change in the mood around Carrington.
Manchester United appointed a winner when they appointed Jose Mourinho and many fans will rue the years wasted under both David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal despite the latter ending the clubs FA Cup drought in 2016.
Despite finishing sixth last season, Mourinho delivered the League Cup and the crucial Europa League allowing the reds to participate in this seasons Champions League.
His football style and parking of the bus irritated supporters at times but those days of “attack, attack, attack” shouted at Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford during the Dutchman’s reign are thankfully gone.
The club look a constant threat on the attack and are scoring goals for fun.
The Portuguese has a settled squad with no players unhappy at their lack of game time and if so, they are not voicing their frustration in public, happy to be part of squad with potential for success.
He has rejuvenated Anthony Martial who at times last season looked uninterested. The Frenchman is starting to look like a key player for the club when starting or coming off the bench and in general looks a happier person.
The Special One knows how to win and already has three winners medals in the Premier League with Chelsea as well as winning domestic titles with FC Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid added with two Champions League triumphs as well.
His team already look like title contenders with both Manchester clubs along with Chelsea the only realistic challengers of this year crown.
In the Champions League the luck of the draw can be just as crucial as to how well you perform in the competition.
While Real Madrid remain the team to beat, Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich look below par.
Should United get through to the last 16, Mourinho will be in his element with not many teams wishing to face the club at that stage.
Leicester City got to the quarter-finals last season and a pretty ordinary Manchester City lost at the semi-final stage the season before showing many factors come into how far you go in the competition.
Manchester United fans do not realistically expect to win the Champions League this season and know the Premier League will go to the wire. However, they have comfort in the fact that with Jose Mourinho at the helm they finally have the right man befitting of the role and have little doubt he will continue to bring success to the club.
Damien McEvoy, Pundit Arena
Check out the latest episode of The Mixer, Pundit Arena’s Irish football podcast, where we spoke to Ronan Finn