It is difficult for former Manchester United players to analyze the current team now. That is simply because the club is a completely different animal than the one they knew six years ago under Sir Alex Ferguson.
There is the old United, who was dominant, feared and respected, and went for the jugular vein.
And there is the new United, which may be good for a FA Cup victory and has good players, but no real identity and who will feel many sides that they can beat.
Jose Mourinho was smug after his match gave a good performance to defeat Juventus in Turin
The United from Sir Alex is not related to the United today and you can not view the current performances based on the performance and style of the former team.
This club is more like Liverpool in the nineties under Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier, a team that adjusted to its loss of status.
Take the result against Juventus on Wednesday night, a masterclass from Jose Mourinho and probably the best performance since taking the lead.
It was classic Mourinho: nobody gave him a chance; the crowd was against him; the team he played was demonstrably better at Old Trafford; many people wanted him to lose.
He loves to play the bad guy. He is still at his best when he has to be a reactive coach, enjoying stealing a result instead of being the overwhelming favorite and being asked to play extensive football. And that is where United is at the moment.
You can say that in the past they went to clubs that are as good as Juventus without an inferiority complex, with more bragging rights. And that they would expect to beat most teams. But that is not the team now.
It is neither realistic nor relevant about the & # 39; United way & # 39; to talk and evaluate an implementation on whether it fits into the past. There is currently no United road.
There is the current battle to make the top four in the Premier League, to endure the group stage of the Champions League and to hope for a solid FA Cup run and maybe a trophy at the end of the season.
They are trying to rebuild, to be at least as they were. Liverpool had the glory of the Champions League 2005 under Rafa Benitez, went close to the title in 2009 and even closer to Brendan Rodgers in 2014.
But you would say that it has taken almost 30 years to return to a point where they start a season as real contenders and, even then, not as favorites. That is more like the journey that United is currently working on. It looks long and heavy.
But his Manchester United team, pictured on Friday's picture, has lost its identity
BRAF BUT DO IT
As an aging boxer who we thought was best, Mourinho stepped back into the ring at Juventus Stadium. You were afraid he would be exposed. But as the old professional is, he can still deliver knockouts.
It was fascinating to see him in the last six weeks. When Newcastle came to Old Trafford, you wondered if he could see the season.
Since then there has been the dramatic comeback to beat Newcastle, a win against Everton, a match at Stamford Bridge that they had to win, the last-minute victory over Bournemouth and now probably his best performance in two and a half years at the club .
But I'm not sure that another manager in world football has reacted in the way Mourinho has been in the past few weeks.
It was absolutely fascinating to see manager Mourinho at work for the past six weeks
The enormous pressure and intensity of being at United and apparently so failed that most coaches would end up in a downward spiral. He looked like a broken man. Instead, we have seen some of his best work since 2015.
I doubt that it will be enough to see him at United in the coming years. Too much damage has been done and there is probably no confidence that he is the man to restore glory.
Mourinho was a pragmatist and used a different approach to get a result in the next game than to impose a grand idea.
There is some merit to that, but in the long run I feel that it hurts them.
When I was at Tottenham, the system and way of playing was quite solved, so you knew you had Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov in front, Gareth Bale on one side and Aaron Lennon on the other. It meant that you knew where players were so that you could release the ball more quickly. That there is no clear pattern in the game of United, she slows down. Players take a crucial extra second to deliver a pass.
Pragmatism can only bring you that far. Sometimes you need a bigger vision.
But despite United's recent improvement, it seems unlikely that Mourinho will continue in the long term
ATTACK IN SPURTS
It is intriguing to speculate how Mourinho stands up against City. I know there is a temptation to think that he will park the bus. And if City is really at its best, there is a risk that they can humiliate every team.
Mourinho can not risk such a thing as ruining his mini-generation. But what is still true about City is that they will always give you a chance. And what Lyon has shown and Liverpool showed last season is that they remain vulnerable to a forward speed line.
As Jurgen Klopp has shown, this does not mean that they are attacked non-stop. You are not going to win a possession match with a Pep Guardiola team, so you must accept that there are periods when you have to allow the ball. But if you can bring a fast ball to an attacking front three, you can find weak spots. That is why I hope that Mourinho goes with Alexis Sanchez in the middle with both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Neither John Stones nor Aymeric Laporte will want Sanchez to turn for them and turn when they play a high line. And Martial and Rashford against Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy will mean that those followers have to think before they go on.
They either take the risk of being exposed or sit down, making it easier for United to win the ball back on the midfield, because the dominance of the city is caused by those extra men in that area.
You know that it will be a solid midfield, probably with Ander Herrera's involvement. But attack, in reason, is really the best form of defense.
POGBA CAN STILL ALIVE A & # 39; GREAT & # 39; TO BE
Paul Pogba was mediocre on Wednesday-evening on his return to Juventus. But Pogba is not the problem.
He is still the player who will deliver for you at important moments.
The 24-minute period in which he closed the game last season in that famous 3-2 victory over Etihad remains his best United moment.
That pioneering Pogba, driving forward, is the player we want to see. Only because he is 6ft 1in and can tackle, does not mean that he has to play deeper in the midfield.
Nobody says that about David Silva. Let him fly and you will see another player.
You will see glimpses when United has to go for it. He is the man who delivers the cross for Marcus Rashford to score the winner in the 90th minute against Bournemouth.
Free him to be the player he can be and he can still be a United big.
The French united midfielder Paul Pogba, 25, must have the freedom to attack more