The Black Cats arrive at Old Trafford on Boxing Day sat in sixth spot in the Premier League, behind fifth-placed Tottenham only on goals scored. Much of the club's improvement can be traced to Bruce's appointment in the summer of 2009, according to Sir Alex.
"Steve’s changed the club around," Sir Alex told his pre-match press conference. "He’s brought different types of player in. He’s brought in (Darren) Bent and (Asamoah) Gyan, he’s brought through the boy (Jordan) Henderson who’s doing fantastically well, he’s brought back (Lee) Cattermole and he’s shaped his own team. I think a lot of it is down to Steve himself. "
Sir Alex's meeting with Bruce precedes tactical tussles with Alex McLeish and Roberto Di Matteo, of Birmingham and West Brom respectively, and the United manager is impressed with the swell of relatively young managers making their way in England's top flight.