Mourinho outburst par for the course
United boss' insatiable appetite for perfection is a reminder that he remains a short-term fix
Jose Mourinho and Europe's elite have long been star-crossed lovers.
But his relationship with Manchester United is increasingly destined to become football's ultimate Romeo and Juliet.
Nothing, it seems, will ever be enough for The Special One.
In the wake of his side's Europa League 3-0 first-leg win over St Etienne yesterday morning (Singapore time), Mourinho again reverted to a time-honoured party trick as United's players were lamented for being too relaxed as they coasted in the Round-of-32 encounter.
That in itself should set the alarm bells ringing around Old Trafford.
At times, the Portuguese's debut season has resembled a fast-tracked version of his previous endgames, across two stints at Chelsea with a spell at Real Madrid sandwiched in between.
His notorious third-season syndrome remains perennially around the corner, even in victory.
Players have regularly found themselves castigated in the public domain, in both triumph and defeat, while everything from fixture congestion to his EPL contemporaries and even his new surroundings in the centre of Manchester have also been dominated by that ire.
I had the feeling in the dressing room... Too noisy, too funny, too relaxed. Then my assistants had the feeling in the warm-up, with some of the guys not really focused on getting the right adrenalin in their bodies.Jose Mourinho accusing Man United players of not showing an appropriate level of mental preparation
That deep unhappiness is likely to continue even if United feasibly sweep all before them between now and the end of May.
MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE
Mourinho would still feel a strong lack of fulfilment, but those rumblings of discontent are nothing new in the grander scheme of his United reign.
For both parties, this is essentially a marriage of convenience. His ambitions have long been dictated by circumstance; a desperation to become Liverpool manager was never reciprocated while Barcelona, his one true love, refused to come calling.
Accordingly, he adjusted his horizons for United to fill the void of the latter's rejection.
Old Trafford's beckoning, however, came too late - for both Mourinho and themselves.
A smooth transition was what the Red Devils required in the aftermath of Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.
Instead, they elected to embark on a three-year wrecking-ball policy, dismantling two managerial reputations and blowing through £357 million (S$628m) in the process.
Mourinho had been seduced by the idea of building on Ferguson's dynasty.
Sifting through its remnants, and subsequent wreckage, has extinguished what little genuine affection he held in his long-standing infatuation with the United hot seat.
He is not renowned for fashioning sides on principles of rebuilding or regeneration.
Short-term success and quick fixes are, and remain, very much his speciality.
They are symptoms of a superficiality which have dominated five top managerial jobs across a 13-year period.
This was supposed to be the exception to the rule; somewhere Mourinho could forge a unique legacy of longevity which has been sorely lacking throughout his career.
But the current reality is far more concerning for Ferguson and United's council of elders.
When even a comfortable 3-0 win and progress towards a potential European final fail to prevent the 54-year-old from descending back into the morose traits which overshadowed his final months at Stamford Bridge, the writing threatens to again be on the wall.
His final days in west London were dominated by resounding continental victories and irrational outbursts continually going hand in hand.
United are yet to hold a special place in Mourinho's heart; they are merely the latest name on a list of the footballing elite that have tried, and failed, to win over an insatiable manager.