You can't blame Jose Mourinho for losing his rag after Sunday's Manchester derby, but things went a little too far in the Old Trafford tunnel.
It may only be December, but there was the feeling that Manchester United simply had to defeat their noisy neighbours or face slipping out of the Premier League title race.
United left a lot to be desired, though, and were dominated by Manchester City who scored from two set pieces virtue of David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi.
However, Marcus Rashford had levelled the affair before half-time and it took some miraculous goalkeeping from Ederson to deny a second United equaliser.
It wasn't enough and with Michael Oliver's full-time whistle, the curtain drew on a demoralising defeat that sees the Red Devils a seemingly unassailable 11 points from the Premier League summit.
So, there was good reason for Manchester City to be in good spirits, right?
Reports after the game seem to suggest the City players took things too far, though, and a report from the Telegraph has detailed the remarkable narrative of a post-match tunnel bust-up.
Mourinho was beginning to get disgruntled with his rivals' celebrations before demanding 'more respect’ from them. It didn't go down well.
The United players sympathised with their manager's qualms and, upon following him down the tunnel, proceedings soon turned to isolated brawls.
Punches were reportedly thrown while police officers 'looked on in disbelief' from outside the referee's room.
Old Trafford security staff were forced to intervene, breaking up the scuffles as the away side continued ‘rubbing their noses in defeat by whooping and cheering.'
Such was the nature of the clash that police were then stationed outside the doors of the dressing rooms.
Later, the Special One left his players to deliver post-match interviews when he stopped by the City dressing room, where players were unknowingly angering him with loud music, and made his feelings known.
It was at this point that Ederson stood up to the United manager.
The dispute between them quickly spilt over and Mourinho was doused in milk and water for his comments. Yes, really.
At least there can be no complaints from United fans that their players didn't show passion but, tunnel bust-ups aside, they missed a major step in the title race by suffering defeat.
The Red Devils will need to manufacture wins in the coming weeks and hope their city rivals wane over the winter to have any hope of being covered in champagne, not milk, come May.
Do you think Manchester City can be caught? Have your say in the comments section below.
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