At home to Burnley – it’s a guaranteed three points, right?
For Manchester United you would think that’s exactly the case yet, despite creating an unprecedented 37 chances, the Red Devils could only limp towards a 0-0 draw. It was as demoralising as it was unexpected.
One man who found it too difficult to comprehend was Jose Mourinho who snubbed post-match press obligations. Nevertheless, his assistant Rui Faria was keen to inherit the mantle as well as his boss’ controversial antics.
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The Special One, in light of the goalless draw, felt particularly aggrieved with referee Mark Clattenburg.
The Euro 2016 final official sent Mourinho to the stands for making an odd protest over a series of penalty claims. He was left to watch the second-half from a fan’s perspective and has clearly held a grudge.
Furthermore, the 53-year-old’s opinion of Clattenburg only further waned when Ander Herrera was sent off for a second bookable offence. Given question marks over the latter caution, the decision sparked controversy.
Coupled with the aforementioned penalty appeals that were waved away, you have yourself a rather riled Mourinho.
In fact, this was to an extent that the Portuguese rejected his usually customary post-match interviews and press conferences. Given that he didn’t even pander to such a reaction after the 4-0 Chelsea drubbing, it spoke volumes of Mourinho’s irritation.
In light of this decision, the Special One’s right hand man was drafted to fill the void and face the questions. It’s fair to say Faria emulated his superior in appropriate fashion.
Aside from lamenting the bad luck of his side and complimenting the heroic saves of Tom Heaton, Faria was also keen to address the issue of Clattenburg.
The 41-year-old simply stated: “I just want to say fantastic work from the referee”
However, given the multitude of reasons for which United could be angry with the referee and the manner in which Faria spoke, it’s almost certain the comment was overwhelming sarcastic.
After all, these suspicions have been confirmed by a number of journalists whose tweets can be seen below:
While it’s unknown whether Mourinho briefed Faria over his press duties, it wouldn’t be surprising given the uncanny resemblance to the Special One’s past antics. Referee-related sarcasm isn’t anything new after all.
The 53-year-old can be seen facetiously complimenting a referee during his second spell at Chelsea in 2014, for which he was later fined, below:
Therefore, today proves once again that refereeing decisions that negatively effect United will undoubtedly receive a backlash from Mourinho and his staff. Even when the man himself isn’t speaking, he’ll find a way to shoehorn it in.
For all of Clattenburg’s debatable decisions though, the bottom line is that the Red Devils are slipping ever further away from the Premier League summit. If Mourinho is to make the top four this season, he simply must snap his team out of their torrid form.
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