Troubled start has created special bond with Manchester United squad - Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho believes he has formed a special bond with his Manchester United players when it would have been easy for relations to "degenerate" after the club's troubled start to the season.
And while the United manager claimed his side "were not in hell", just as they are "not in heaven" now after seven successive wins, he believes team spirit is getting stronger and they are producing better quality football than he presided over at many of his previous clubs.
Mourinho also revealed that he would not consider Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay for selection while their futures at Old Trafford remain unresolved and does not intend to sign another centre-half this month, despite losing Eric Bailly to the Africa Cup of Nations.
"I think it's quicker [to form a bond] when you win," said Mourinho ahead of the visit of Reading in the FA Cup third round this lunchtime, when he confirmed Sergio Romero and Wayne Rooney would start.
"This is different because it took more time to go into a winning period. We built that relationship based not on good results but bad results.
"When you have at the beginning a run of two or three months' winning, it's paradise. Everybody is friendly, everybody hugs, everybody kisses. But when you have bad results there is normally a tendency for that to be delayed and sometimes things even degenerate and there is no way back. But we were calm, we were positive, nobody was against anybody."
Mourinho said he could see his side taking shape even when they were not earning points.
"I had lots of winning teams [before], we won in every club but we didn't have many teams playing so well as my Man United team does. My teams normally are pragmatic, but the relation between the way we want to play and the way the fans want the team to play is important."
Everton and West Brom have had £19m and £18m bids rejected for midfielder Schneiderlin, while Everton, Roma and Nice are interested in winger Depay. "I will allow them to leave if the right offer comes," Mourinho said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)