Mourinho's blast an ominous sign: Richard Buxton
Manchester United manager appears on a mission to self-destruct
Damage limitation has again become Jose Mourinho's modus operandi.
The Manchester United manager is on another personal mission to save face, at all costs.
Whenever Mourinho embarks on an inevitable fall from grace at another elite European club, outbursts and accusations often go hand-in-hand as he battles to emerge with what little credit remains.
Either side of a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion yesterday morning (Singapore time) that booked United a place in the FA Cup semi-finals, the pattern of behaviour proved all too familiar.
A self-pitying, 12-minute monologue offered up as a weak explanation for the Red Devils' muted Champions League exit to Sevilla in midweek previously appeared unbeatable.
But Mourinho has mastered the art of lowering the bar of expectation. And United are discovering, as Real Madrid and Chelsea did previously, that no one is immune.
Often, it is totemic figures that are the first to be ostracised.
At the Bernabeu, Iker Casillas was frozen out; Eden Hazard briefly found himself out in the cold at Stamford Bridge while Paul Pogba's Old Trafford return has turned into a nightmare.
Yet, even Scott McTominay, Mourinho's elaborate pet project in his stand-off with Pogba, was singled out for failing to deliver a trademark inspiring performance in the heart of the midfield.
An unflattering yet comfortable passage to a Wembley date wasn't good enough for the "Special One".
United's performance was condemned as devoid of the personality, class and desire that their manager's approach had supposedly forearmed them to deliver.
Two shots on target, coincidentally by the only outfield players - Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic - afforded faint praise in his previous bout of self-indulgence, appeared to vindicate that assertion.
Leaving the impenetrable David de Gea on the substitutes' bench in a must-win game, however, tends to have an effect of unease, particularly for a team with fragile levels of fortitude.
A willingness to denigrate several of his players like small children, frightened of the responsibility that comes with playing at the Theatre of Dreams, is a sideways step on the claims of a dressing room betrayal that dominated his Chelsea exit less than three years ago.
That mistrust highlights the disparity between Mourinho and his current employers; a siege mentality which has existed throughout his recent managerial CV.
He remains permanently at odds with the trappings that his early success elsewhere has often brought.
Rewards for winning silverware has been a kiss of death for the 55-year-old in his previous two roles.
With Real and Chelsea, he lasted barely a full season after signing contract extensions.
Stability sits uneasily, to the point that martyrdom via conflict becomes preferable.
Mourinho again finds himself under pressure because he has actively invited and encouraged it.
The unprovoked diatribes will become more common, rather than anomalies, in what little remains of this season as well as for the remainder of his United tenure.
Publicly ramping up the pressure means that a full-force meltdown, not too dissimilar to the ones which have heralded the end of days at various clubs, is now only a matter of weeks away.
Bearing witness to Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, his long-standing nemesis, wrapping up the English Premier title in next month's Manchester Derby could be that tipping point.