Bastian Schweinsteiger was the Powerful One to stay, insists Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho has been impressed by the way Bastian Schweinsteiger has fought his way back from the precipice, with the self-proclaimed Special One calling his midfielder the "Powerful One" when it comes to his Manchester United future.
Wednesday's comfortable EFL Cup win against West Ham saw the 32-year-old make his first United appearance in eight months, continuing a comeback few could have foreseen after being frozen out by the Portuguese.
Schweinsteiger's stock plummeted so far that the club had to write him off as an asset in their accounts, so eyebrows were raised when the former Germany captain returned to first-team training at the end of October.
The comeback continued against the Hammers when he was brought off the bench towards the end of the 4-1 win.
"Everybody was happy," Mourinho said. "I was happy, everybody was happy because when he was not training with the team, he did it in a professional way.
"When he started training with the team he was struggling a little bit because it is not easy, but he fought a lot against that and he managed to do that without injuries and the need to stop.
"So he was continuously working for a month and we thought that it could be a good opportunity for him to play a little bit.
"Of course he came on at 3-1 and for 10 minutes, but if we needed him before (that) he was ready."
It was expected that Schweinsteiger's return to training was mainly to aid a January exit.
The midfielder held talks with Chicago Fire a fortnight ago about a move to Major League Soccer, but Mourinho says he could yet remain at Old Trafford.
"Of course he can," he said when asked if the midfielder could stay beyond January.
"When you have a contract with the club, you are the powerful one. You are the one that can decide your future.
"Okay, so in the summer we try to make something happen for Bastian to get a different future. He was the powerful one, he decided to stay even in difficult circumstances.
"He worked for that and he deserved that little happiness of the last match, so January again he will be the powerful one and probably with better feelings than before because now he is working with the team."
Mourinho, whose side are away to Everton tomorrow, added that he liked players with determination, an attribute he has also seen in Anthony Martial recently. A fine first season at Old Trafford has been followed by a stuttering second campaign.
However, Martial showed a glimpse of his quality with a brace against West Ham on Wednesday and Mourinho has been impressed by his improved work-rate.
"He is working harder than before, to be honest,' Mourinho said, adding that the goals will boost his confidence levels.
Martial will be hoping to start again at Everton - a clash captain Wayne Rooney will miss through suspension.
Pogba and Fellaini are back in contention after bans of their own, but left-back Luke Shaw is a doubt after being forced off in midweek.