The United boss has overseen a dramatic transformation in the playing staff since then, with this summer’s arrivals of Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku meaning he is getting ever closer to managing a truly ‘Mourinho’ side.
However, the Special One believes it will take a full THREE summers for him to truly ‘rebuild’ the team, following the struggles of the immediate post-Sir Alex Ferguson years.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mourinho explains exactly how bad he believed the situation to be when he first took charge at Old Trafford.
“There was an evolution in the other clubs; there was no evolution in this club.
“In all the areas that make a team successful, I think we stopped in time. When I say ‘the club’, I say the football team and what surrounds the football team was in trouble, big trouble.
“Not the club at all, because the club is much more than the results… Manchester United as a club will never be in trouble.”
That initial assessment perhaps explains why Mourinho believes the job of rebuilding and reshaping the United team will require a full three years, the exact length of his contract.
Mourinho is confident that three years is “the correct timing to put the football team on the right track”.
“Three summers are the period because it’s the summer where you design the future of your squad. In January you get a specific player who is in the end of his contract, you can get him in better conditions or it’s an emergency buy.
“But the design, the architecture of the future of your team is made in the summer.
“So three summers are the ideal to put the team back on track, but also to make the whole structure solid and working like a perfect machine, giving to the football team the best conditions – not just for now, but for the future.”