Manchester United defender Phil Jones has said the club were a “laughing stock” under Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho was sacked on Dec. 18 with United 11 points adrift of the Champions League places. However, eight wins from nine under replacement Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has seen the club climb up to fourth place for the first time since the opening day of the season.
And Jones, who signed a contract extension this week, said there had been a complete turnaround in recent weeks.
“Everyone’s got to take us seriously now,” Jones said. “We might have been a bit of a laughing stock at the beginning of the season but we’re certainly not now.
“We’ve proven that in the last 10 or 12 games. We’re improving, we’re still getting better. It was tough for everyone involved.
“The club, the supporters, everyone. But it’s about becoming stronger and seeing that through. I’ve said it in the past: we’ve not achieved anything yet, we’re under no illusions but we’re heading in the right direction.
“We knew we could get into the top four. It’s a big statement from where we were. Consistency is key in any sport and it’s no different here. We’re putting a run together, we need to keep momentum going and pick up points.”
Stand-in captain Ashley Young said that, despite the impressive form under Solskjaer, the United boss has needed to raise his voice towards the players — much like Sir Alex Ferguson was famous for doing during his time as manager.
Asked if Solskjaer had shouted at the players, Young told L’Equipe: “That shows you’re not in our dressing room, because I can tell you that we’ve had some hairdryer treatments recently.
“When Ole Gunnar arrived, in a kind of way, I got the impression that Sir Alex was back, because he was accompanied by Mike Phelan and Michael Carrick. But also because Ole Gunnar knows exactly what it means to play for the club.
“He is obsessed by winning, and — at the same time — with his players enjoying themselves on the pitch, like Sir Alex.”
Meanwhile, Victor Lindelof has trained ahead of United’s Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain. The defender missed the 3-0 win over Fulham on Saturday with a minor injury but was fit enough to train at Carrington on Monday morning.
If the Sweden international is passed fit he is likely to start against the French champions at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent Rob Dawson contributed to this report.