At this point of his career and tenure as Manchester United manager, we’re so far down Jose Mourinho’s mind-games wormhole that it’s typically
quite difficult nigh impossible to discern when — or, if ever — he’s being genuine and forthright with his comments, or attempting to twist the narrative in a way that’s more favorable to him and his team.
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Either Mourinho is a master of deception, or we’ve convinced ourselves over the last decade and a half that he is.
Fortunately for the simpletons among us, Saturday appeared to be one of the rare instances in which Mourinho was pretty plainspoken — or so he would have you believe — with his comments following his side’s 0-0 draw with Southampton. Asked about his general disappointment over ending 2017 with a draw — his side’s third straight — and slipping from second to third in the Premier League table, Mourinho went straight for his intended target: referee Craig Pawson — quotes from the BBC:
“I think it is also a disappointing afternoon for Craig, because he’s a fantastic referee, one of the best in Europe. Of course I think it was a penalty.
“We missed easy chances but I’m really unhappy with the penalty, not with Pawson’s performance — today I think Craig had a good performance, it was a big decision to make from Craig.”
Mourinho is, of course, referring to Pawson’s first-half non-call of a potential handball by Saints defender Maya Yoshida (WATCH HERE). As the incident occurred inside the Southampton penalty area, Mourinho is aggrieved his side was not awarded a penalty. He went on to explain his thought process in greater detail, while remaining mindful that a fine or suspension could be in his future (again) if he goes too far — quotes from the Independent:
“I saw it on the touchline and it was very clear. But I was 50 meters away from the decision so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
“Then when I see players like Juan Mata reacting so hysterically, I knew there was no doubt. At halftime, I watched it and it was a penalty — like the foul on (Marcus) Rashford against Leicester and the foul on (Ander) Herrera against City.
“I repeat that the three referees’ performances in those matches were good, but they were unlucky decisions for us. We have been punished.”