To think, just 11 weeks and two days ago, Manchester United were still managed by Jose Mourinho, with their season threatening to peter out before it even reached the halfway point.
Then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was brought in, and everything changed. In the space of 17 matches, the team is not utterly unrecognisable from then Mourinho days. The outlook for the season is now far, far brighter, and will include a Champions League quarter-final after one of the great European comebacks at Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night.
So, what exactly has Solskjaer got right to have such an incredible transformative effect in less than three months at the club? These are the big calls he has made at Old Trafford.
Brought Mike Phelan back
When Phelan, a manager who failed at Hull, returned to United to team up with Solskjaer, a manager who failed at Cardiff, it was a decision derided in some quarters. How would these two relatively small names suddenly combine to make a winning formula? Many fans wanted a megastar managerial appointment.
But since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure a link to the old United regime has been lacking. The club went for a fresh start in 2013, but that didn’t work. Phelan’s return has helped Solskjaer to reestablish the feeling of giddying fun in attack that characterised Fergie’s time in charge. Phelan’s experience and impact should not be underestimated.