Mourinho: A win for humble men
Man United boss Mourinho takes pride in qualifying for Champions League via Europa League triumph
He has torn into his players, criticised the referees, blamed the people who drew up the fixture list, and occasionally shunned the media.
It seemed like Jose Mourinho had lost the plot when he recently played up the importance of the Europa League - the same competition he said he "didn't want to win" four years ago.
Yesterday morning (Singapore time), after goals by Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan helped Manchester United beat Ajax Amsterdam 2-0 in Stockholm to lift the Europa League crown, the 54-year-old Portuguese wrestled, hugged and laughed with his teenage son on the Friends Arena pitch.
Once again, Mourinho has proven that he is a man for the big occasions.
It didn't take him long to take a swipe at his critics.
In a press conference reminiscent of the time he introduced himself as the "Special One" after joining Chelsea in 2004, Mourinho now claimed to be the "Humble One".
He said: "If I can say something about myself, I'm very humble when I play finals.
"There are lots of poets in football, but poets don't win many titles.
Manchester United join Ajax Amsterdam, Bayern Munich and Juventus as the only clubs to have won all three major Uefa trophies, including the now-defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup, as well as the Club World Cup or the Intercontinental Cup.
VICTORY OF PRAGMATISM
"The poets are the ones who win every match. I will try to have one of these jobs because you win every match. Some guys win every time, but I don't... I never managed that in my career.
"But in a bad season, when sometimes I felt my team were the worst team in the world, where I felt I was the worst manager in the world, we managed to win three trophies and we go to the Champions League by winning a trophy, not by finishing second, third or fourth.
"It was a really good victory of pragmatism, a victory of humble people, who respect opponents, try to explore opponents' weaknesses. A win for a fantastic group, but a win for pragmatism. Not poets, just humble people."
After spending millions to sign the likes of Pogba, Eric Bailly and Mkhitaryan, finishing sixth in the English Premier League was never going to be good enough.
But, crucially, he knows how to win silverware.
The Europa League is his 20th major title with five clubs from four countries and, to date, Mourinho is still unbeaten in all four of his European finals.
Defenders Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo limping out on crutches for the victory ceremony provided a reminder of just how unlucky United have been with injuries this season.
When 28-goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic suffered a serious knee injury against Anderlecht in the quarter-finals, it looked like United's season was over too.
But Mourinho turned to 19-year-old Marcus Rashford and was rewarded with match-winning performances against the Belgians and Celta Vigo in the semi-finals.
Bar his last season at Chelsea in which he lost the dressing room, Mourinho's man-management skills should not be in doubt.
How else could he have kept Wayne Rooney happy on the bench, or David de Gea content about not playing in a European final?
According to Mourinho, Ibrahimovic was still working his magic off the field.
He said: "He played for us, he played outside the pitch, in the second half he told the ball boys in Swedish to take it easy.
"I'm so happy he finally wins a European title."
Mourinho also gave Rooney, who found out yesterday that he has been left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad to face Scotland and France next month, a stoppage-time cameo.
He said: "I told him yesterday that he could be the key man, but he can perfectly be here next season. He is a very important player for us. If he stays next season I'd be very happy."
The Europa League triumph is the saving grace following a mediocre EPL campaign.
But it will not hide the fact that they still have some way to go before they can challenge for the EPL title.
They must shore up a fragile defence in front of de Gea, but the more pressing issue is to sort out an attack that scored just 54 times in 38 league games.
Suggesting another big-spending pre-season is on the cards, Mourinho said: "(United executive vice-chairman) Ed Woodward has my list, what I want, what I would like for more than two months.
"We prefer to bring two, three, four players - but good players who feel the idea of the football we try to play, who can improve our squad.
"So now it's for him, for the owners, for the people who work with him and I just wait."
Mourinho has a record of winning the league with every team he has led since joining Porto in 2002. He has also never stayed with a club for more than three seasons.
The football world waits with bated breath.