David Moyes comes out on top in first battle with Mourinho

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First he was the "Happy One", then the "Patronising One". Now Jose Mourinho is back to doing what he does best. Being the "Rub fellow managers up the wrong way One".

Never short of a wagging finger, both literal and metaphorical, in the face of rivals in Spain we were led to believe that he was the "Happy One" upon his return to the Premier League, an amicable Don Corleone who would replace Sir Fergie as the moral arbiter of the English game.

He tried it out with a ruffle-of-hair for Paul Lambert who was outraged to see his Aston Villa side denied a penalty at Stamford Bridge during his side's 2-1 defeat last week.

"He reminds me of myself 10 years ago when I was proclaiming every decision," chuckled Mourinho afterwards, safe in the knowledge his side had got the rub of the green. "I wanted to coach my team and have the whistle. He complains about every decision but he's a young manager." Can you say patronising?

After last night's stalemate he bared his teeth having tried to drive a wedge between Rooney and his club earlier on by claiming it was unfair to block Rooney's route to Chelsea.

His formation for a game that demonstrated he had lost none of his pragmatic tendencies during his time away from England may as have been called the "Wayne Rooney-shaped hole up front", and afterwards his play for the unsettled England striker was even harder.

"One way or another he has to say 'I want to leave' or 'I want to stay'," said Mourinho.

"The person that started the story has to finish the story. For the good of everyone, it is time to finish the story.

When asked what sort of time frame Rooney would be allowed to force his way out of Old Trafford, he added: "Twenty-four hours, 48 hours." That's before you even consider rumours that a third bid for Rooney was lodged on the eve of the game.

This is classic Mourinho. A man willing to talk enough that he once sent the ice-cool Pep Guardiola loopy, the former Real Madrid man knows he faces a tough task in landing Rooney, but that didn't stop him from forcing the issue, trying get one over his new rival at the very least.

Sadly for Mourinho all the talking and spin in the world looks unlikely to help him get what he wants, although that is unlikely to stop him trying once more in the future.

It is an inescapable fact that for all the bluster, Chelsea underwhelmed last night and little was done to dispel the notion that Mourinho won't bring beautiful football back to west London, nor is he likely to have done enough into impose himself on Manchester United and Rooney to force the forward into a move.

It is that fact that allowed a rather calm-looking David Moyes to reflect sedately on proceedings and some pretty outlandish claims from Mourinho afterwards. The Scot praised Rooney, said his side could have won and went off into the night. No bite back, no losing his cool, no notable soundbites.

While we would dearly love to know what Sir Alex Ferguson would have said had he still been in the hot seat at Old Trafford - he remains remarkably quiet for now - Moyes refusal to give Mourinho anything back coupled with Man Utd's unmoving stance over Rooney leaves him in a strong position.

Given the fact that Manchester United came out of last night's skirmish with the most credit, and that Rooney appears unlikely to be on the move before the close of the transfer window, it is Moyes who has won the first battle. Despite all of Mourinho's bluster, it is 1-0 to the Scot.

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