Jules Maiorana was a United player between 1988 to 1994, during which time he made eight appearances in the club’s first team. A regular contributor to United in Focus, here Jules discusses United’s recent fortunes under Jose Mourinho and looks ahead to the visit of Sunderland on Boxing Day.

The last few games United have won and you can see an improvement. When Carrick’s been in the team they’ve been doing well and it seems like the manager has found his formation.

What I have noticed is that in possession they’re great at keeping the ball but don’t seem to penetrate enough. I watched some of the West Brom game and I don’t know what the stats read but United seemed to have the ball for a hell of a long time and not do much with it, they reminded me a bit of City.

The thing is though, they’ve won the last three games in the league so Mourinho is getting something right and to be fair they’re not playing too badly.

Defence

United have been leaking goals since the season started, conceding late on and picking up a lot of draws. He’s changed it and when I saw that Jones and Rojo were playing together in defence you thought they were going to fail but they’ve done well. Rojo has impressed me apart from his stupid tackles and I never thought I would say that Phil Jones has as well. He looks like he’s been told to get the ball and play it easy and he looks a much better player for doing that.

Antonio Valencia has been very good at full back, he actually plays like a winger and you don’t get many wing-backs like that who get forward with the confidence that he does. He can get past players and has a lot of pace.

Sunderland

United face Sunderland on Boxing Day, I don’t think the visitors have much of a chance but David Moyes will want to get one over United. If he’s got the players capable of doing it is a different story and I can’t see it happening with United’s current form.

I do think Moyes should have been given more time at United but he wasn’t a big enough name and I don’t think he was the right man in the first place. Van Gaal was a much bigger name but he was heavily criticised as well. Mourinho’s stats after the first few months were worse than both of his predecessors so it’s all about giving people time.

For the game I’m going to say United will win 2-0, maybe even three. Sunderland always struggle and do well to keep out of a relegation battle. With United’s form at Old Trafford I can’t see anything else, I might have said a draw a month ago but they coasted past West Brom.