sport news Jose Mourinho was sacked by a year ago...but who was the real ...

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It's been just under a year since parted ways with Jose Mourinho after an appalling start to last season saw the club pick up just 26 points from their first 17 Premier League games.

Fast forward 12 months and there is a sense of deja vu around Old Trafford, with Sunday's 2-2 draw with Aston Villa leaving the club in ninth place with an abysmal 18 points after 14 matches.

As Jose Mourinho prepares to return to Old Trafford on Wednesday having won his first three games in charge of Tottenham, the question is: who has benefited most from their divorce, Mourinho or United?

Look who's back: Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford for the first time on Wednesday

Look who's back: Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford for the first time on Wednesday

Mourinho has appeared rejuvenated since being appointed Tottenham boss two weeks ago

Mourinho has appeared rejuvenated since being appointed Tottenham boss two weeks ago

It was a miserable end at United with many sensing Mourinho had lost his love for management

It was a miserable end at United with many sensing Mourinho had lost his love for management

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now under real pressure after Man United's terrible start to the season

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now under real pressure after Man United's terrible start to the season

First let's look at Mourinho. 

When he left a year ago, critics accused Mourinho of becoming a tactical dinosaur with an outdated approach to man-management.

But the last 12 months have allowed the Portuguese to withdraw from the limelight and reflect on what he was and what he wants to become.

The result seems to be a rejuvenated figure, who appears happy in his work once again, something he never truly appeared to be during his two-and-a-half years at Old Trafford.

Mourinho (middle) looked a beaten man in his final game as United boss away at Liverpool

Mourinho (middle) looked a beaten man in his final game as United boss away at Liverpool

But United's problems have not stopped and they are now below Mourinho's Tottenham

But United's problems have not stopped and they are now below Mourinho's Tottenham

How long he will be happy for is another question. Having been sacked from his last two jobs at Chelsea and United, Mourinho knows he must make a success of his time at Tottenham or be seen as damaged goods whose best years are behind him.

At United, his treatment of Luke Shaw was often cited as an example of his inability to put an arm around the shoulder of a player who didn't respond well to a hard line approach, and Mourinho seems to have adopted different tactics at Spurs.

At the press conference to announce his arrival, he was quick to praise the strength of the squad at his disposal and claimed he wouldn't need to make any signings in January - a rallying cry which has done much to reboot a Tottenham side that was in dire straits.

The truth is, he's inherited a squad stronger than the one he left at United - despite spending £400million at Old Trafford - and has been quick to forge early alliances with two of his key men, Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

Three wins from his first three games in charge have

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