'Tis the season and all of that, and Eamon Dunphy is evidently feeling generous, as he began this week's edition of his new podcast The Stand by issuing a full and frank apology to Manchester United and their fans for having the temerity to write off their side's chances earlier this season.
I feel like saying sorry to Mourinho and Manchester United fans, because I was scathing about them, up to about a month or five weeks ago, I thought that they looked doomed, possibly to midtable. He looked like he had lost the plot when he kicked the bottle, but they've got a seriously settled team now, they are controlling their games and they're on a roll.
John Giles and Liam Brady joined Dunphy on the podcast, with Giles declining Dunphy's offer in joining him in apology to United. Giles and Dunphy did admit that they have been wrong over Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Dunphy says that he wasn't sure if he "had it in him" on the evidence of his first six weeks, but has changed his opinion now:
[Ibrahimovic's form] is one of the things that has surprised me. He has scored 13 goals this season, and he has scored important goals this season: the winner in the Europa League, and now important goals at West Brom.
Dunphy went on to praise Mourinho's tactics at West Brom, citing the inclusion of Lingard to stretch the home side as "clever". Dunphy also disagreed with John Giles' summary of Michael Carrick. Carrick, says Giles, has been "ok, but not a game-changer", going on to draw less than flattering comparisons with Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy for Ireland.
Dunphy disagrees, saying that to compare Carrick to Whelan and McCarthy is unfair,
I don't think it's fair to compare him to McCarthy or Whelan. I think he has improved the team, John, they don't look as flaky and likely to give the ball away when he is there.
Giles was typically blunt in his response:
Ah they didn't have anyone at that particular stage.
You can listen to the full discussion on The Stand podcast.