By Chris Wheeler for the Daily Mail
Published: 18:37 GMT, 1 December 2019 | Updated: 18:37 GMT, 1 December 2019
Jose Mourinho will return to Old Trafford for the first time as Tottenham manager on Wednesday night, and the former Manchester United boss could be forgiven for asking just how much has changed since he was axed a year ago this month.
United’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on Sunday left Mourinho’s successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with 18 points from 14 games and in ninth place in the Premier League table.
At the same stage last season, Mourinho’s side had 22 points and were in seventh after a 2-2 draw with Southampton. Even so, the Portuguese coach was two weeks away from the sack.
Man United have 18 points from 14 games and sit in ninth place in the Premier League table
Of course, Mourinho’s demise had more to do with events off the pitch; a deteriorating relationship with the Old Trafford board over what he perceived as a lack of support in the transfer market in the summer of 2018, and fall-outs with a number of players – principally Paul Pogba. By the time the end came on December 18 last year, one senior figure at United described it as ‘death by a thousand cuts’.
Solskjaer could not be a more contrasting character. A United man through and through, and the ideal figure to lead what has been described as a cultural reboot at United – a return to the core values of his mentor Sir Alex Ferguson that have been lost since the Scot retired in 2013.
Solskjaer buys into the idea that United will have to take a step back to move forward again, something that doesn’t sit well with Mourinho.