Manchester United Jesse Lingard has revealed new boss Jose Mourinho is playing the joker in training to try and win over the team ahead of the new season.
The Portuguese took over at Old Trafford this summer and has been known for his strict methods at previous clubs, with some Chelsea players falling out with him last season before his axing last December.
However, Lingard said, rather than being strict in his approach, Mourinho has taken a more light-hearted approach at United so far as he bids to create a winning mentality among the players.
“He’s the main coach and the main manager. He takes all the sessions and, while he wants us to work hard, he is always cracking jokes and having banter with the players,” Lingard told The Mirror.
“I thought he’d be very strict but, even though he works us hard and his mind is always on the job at all times, he also has a joke with the players.
“I think that has helped the lads bond with him.
“He has that presence and aura about him, but you can still speak to him about anything and he will always try to help.”
United get their Premier League campaign underway on Sunday with an away match at Bournemouth.
If the Red Devils fail to win the title next May, expect to hear plenty about the side’s shambolic pre-season.
Mourinho, notoriously meticulous in his preparations for pre-season, was forced to accept the plans made by his predecessor, Van Gaal.
The club embarked on a commercially-driven eight-day tour to China in late July and were dismantled by German giants Dortmund who ran Mourinho’s side ragged in a 4-1 victory.
The defeat was put down to a lack of training but the tour descended into further mess three days later when the Red Devils’ clash with Manchester City was called off due to bad weather.
A promising 5-2 victory against Galatasaray in Sweden followed, where Ibrahimovic scored an acrobatic scissor kick on his debut.
The Swede bettered that effort a week later when he scored the winner in the side’s 2-1 victory against Leicester City in the Community Shield.
All in all, it’s been a mixed pre-season for the Reds but Mourinho will probably be most pleased with the fact that his squad remains injury-free heading into the new season.