For example, an ostler needs his… ostle, Jose Mourinho needs conflict in his life. And his latest target appears to be none other than some of Manchester United’s fans, who he suspects of being both too hard on Romelu Lukaku, and unduly negative about United’s (unduly negative?) team.
But for tBB’s money, the most attractive aspect of Mourinho’s post-Spurs mutterings wasn’t the Lukaku stuff. It was the other stuff, that came out when he was asked about his finger-to-lips gesture. Here it is, in all its glory.
Some people speak too much. You know, calm down, relax. Relax a little bit. Don’t speak too much — speak, speak, speak. You know, relax […] Yeah, relax a little bit. Don’t be so nervous, don’t be so excited. Calm down a little bit.
So, who do we think Jose Mourinho was talking about?
1. The “Einsteins”
Jose Mourinho knows about football, alright? He gets it. Football. The thing with the ball. He understands it. And anybody who says he doesn’t get it doesn’t get it. Because oh, how he gets it. He gets it so much that nobody has ever gotten it more. And if anybody dares to suggest that he doesn’t get it he’ll be sending Rui Faria round.
2. The actual Einstein
“He may want to fight World War Four with sticks and stones. I will have Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini. Checkmate, Albert”
3. United’s booing fans
This special part of tBB didn’t hear the booing on Saturday, but we find it hard to believe it was directed at Romelu Lukaku. The withdrawal of Marcus Rashford? Sounds plausible. The generally underwhelming tenor of the game? Could be. The fact that Manchester’s skies were being very Mancunian in everybody’s faces? Maybe.
But Lukaku? Nah. Everybody likes Lukaku. And obviously Mourinho’s the expert, but don’t most siege mentalities tend to be “us against them”? Not “us against them and also some of us”.
Yes, you. Specifically you. The person reading this now. You know what you did.
5. Pep Guardiola
On the one hand, no. Guardiola wasn’t even there. But on a much deeper level, we suspect that everything Mourinho says or does is aimed in some respect at his nemesis. The Bald One, Him from over there.
6. Himself, always, all the time
7. The wide culture of recent football that loudly insists that 2 or 3 indifferent performances in a row are not, as they might previously have been, simply part of the natural ebb and flow of a long and complicated football season, but instead amount to some kind of deep and significant rupture in a team’s progress, a diagnosis that then becomes self-fulfilling thanks to the hideous swirling vortex of social media, tabloid sensibilities, and 24/7 news coverage, and in the process can undo all the hard work of a good football man who just wants to settle his expensive team into a low defensive block in peace.