Ander Herrera remains “very thankful” to Jose Mourinho for all that the Portuguese did for him at Manchester United, with the Spaniard crediting a former boss with making him the player he is today.
The Red Devils took the decision to part company with the ex-Chelsea and Real Madrid manager in December.
Mourinho was considered to have taken an underperforming side as far as he could, with a fresh approach required as the baton was passed to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United, including Herrera, have thrived under the guidance of a new coach, leading many to question why the club did not act sooner as they stumbled out of the blocks in 2018-19.
Herrera, though, believes that Mourinho did a lot of good work at Old Trafford, with the influence of a proven winner allowing him to land major silverware and a Player of the Year award in 2017.
“He did everything for the club to try to win.
“Actually, the first season was very successful. In the second season we lost the FA Cup final and finished second, so maybe if we had won that final, we could have said that season was successful too.
“I’m very thankful to Mourinho for what he did for me and for the club. I became Player of the Year under him. He did good things for me.
“I have a good relationship with him and, of course, I spoke to him when he left. He texted me a very nice message – something private between me and him. I have so much respect for him.”
Herrera is currently among those sidelined at United.
An injury crisis has struck at the worst possible time, with Solskjaer’s side seeking to build momentum at home and abroad.
The walking wounded are slowly being returned to the fold, with Nemanja Matic stepping back in for a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.
That reversal – a first in the Premier League under Solskjaer – has dropped the Red Devils out of the top four, but they remain very much in the hunt and have already booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and Champions League.