Nigel de Jong believes Manchester United are moving in the right direction under Erik ten Hag and says two new additions to his squad have a “killer mentality”.
After a worrying start to the season, United have won their last four Premier League games to move up to fifth in the table.
The team’s promising run included victories over arch-rivals Liverpool and early Premier League leaders Arsenal.
United spent over £200m on new players over the summer and former Manchester City midfielder De Jong can see a ‘real team’ developing at Old Trafford.
De Jong was particularly laudable about United’s signings of Antony and Lisandro Martinez, claiming both players would “walk through fire” for Ten Hag.
Antony scored on his Premier League debut to help Manchester United beat Arsenal earlier this month, while Martinez has put in a string of impressive performances following his summer move from Ajax.
De Jong told the Daily Mirror: “Erik has 23 egos in his squad at United. You can have the best players in the world, but you can only start building a real team if you can turn all those egos into one team.
“Ten Hag chose their players carefully. One thing I can see, he has chosen players with whom he can win a war.
“I can already see the strategy. Check out Martinez on the team. He has this killer mentality. Martinez will walk through fire for Ten Hag.
“Antony adds boasting. He, too, has what we call an “over my dead body” mentality. I’ve seen this side of Antony many times. United have done really good business in my opinion. The spirit in the team has changed.
“If they conceded a goal last year, the team would collapse like a house of cards. Now we can all see the energy and strong mentality in the United team. There is a real team on the field again.”
One of Manchester United’s biggest selling points this season has been the form of Marcus Rashford, who scored twice in the 3-1 win over Arsenal.
“Rashford feels much better in his attacking role now,” added former Netherlands international De Jong.
“Ten Hag doesn’t really have a prolific goalscorer or a real forward so he put Rashford in there and it’s wonderful to see him produce top performance in return for the massive faith the manager has in him.
“I can see a smile on Rashord’s face again – and that says a lot to me. For far too long I’ve seen him walking around with a sad expression on his face. Now the joy is back because he’s playing with players who understand him.”
Manchester United meet Sheriff FC in the Europa League on Thursday night but the Premier League clash with Leeds United, due to take place on Sunday, has been postponed.
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