Jose Mourinho is bringing the fear factor back to Old Trafford, according to former Manchester United coach Mike Phelan.

Mourinho's men are unbeaten since losing the European Super Cup final to Real Madrid and have won six of their seven Premier League games so far and have a 100% record in the Champions League, after wining their first two games.

Phelan, who spent 19 seasons at Old Trafford as a player and as a first team coach, believes United are rediscovering the form of old under the Portuguese.

"I think they are getting that (fear) back slowly because now at Old Trafford there is an atmosphere, there is an expectation and the players are reacting really well to it," Phelan told Premier League Daily on Sky Sports News.

"You have to build that reputation that fear and I think it was lost a little bit in the time Sir Alex [Ferguson] had left.

"In the off-season, he's gone about his business really, really well. I think he's come back fresh and he's added to the squad and I think they are looking at a squad now that can really go the distance."

Mourinho won the League Cup and the Europa League in his first season at Old Trafford but United finished outside the top four for the third time in four seasons since Ferguson left, having not finished any lower than third since the inception of the Premier League.

However, there are signs United could finally mount a title challenge again as they went into the international break trailing Manchester City only on goal difference and they could go top of the league for a few hours provided they do not lose to Liverpool in the early kick-off on Saturday (14 October).

At the same time, their trip to Anfield, where they have not lost in the league since September 2013, will be their first big test of the campaign and Phelan believes Mourinho will be more focused on not losing than on securing the whole three points.

In his first visit to Anfield as United manager, Mourinho frustrated Liverpool as his side secured a 0-0 draw but were accused of adopting ultra-defensive tactics.

"Right now he [Mourinho] is building something, he's got off to a terrific start and he will want to continue that," Phelan added.

"But he certainly won't want to lose this game because I think it helps him build and it gives confidence to the players going forward."

The former Hull City manager is alone in thinking United will adopt a cautious approach on Saturday, with former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish suggesting Mourinho will "park the bus" against the Reds.

"I think United will come and set up quite defensively, but at the same time, they have fantastic frontmen in Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial," Dalglish told the Liverpool Echo.

"I think Jose will try to make sure the pressure is on Liverpool, but the pressure is on everyone when it comes to a game like that."