As he enters his third season with United short of the players he wants, the Portuguese’s complaints are serving to galvanise rivals while demoralising his own players.
José Mourinho’s outburst after Manchester United’s 4-1 defeat against Liverpool may signal the Portuguese entering his endgame at the club.
Even for a manager whose media appearances are often outspoken, the comments were extraordinary. He confessed disquiet at handing Ed Woodward, the club’s executive vice-chairman, a list of five players for “two new signings” and being unsure if even one of these will arrive by 9 August when the window closes.
Mourinho also declared he would not have paid to see the Liverpool game despite it being between English football’s fiercest rivals and so a centrepiece fixture of the International Champions Cup, a lucrative summer money-spinner.
So how the Glazers, United’s American profit-led owners, view their manager effectively warning fans against attending the final tour match against Real Madrid in Miami on Wednesday should be clear.
How could Alexis Sánchez be “very happy with the players around him”, the 55-year-old asked in a crushing dismissal of younger squad members he is supposedly developing as future United footballers.
Mourinho then rounded on his captain Antonio Valencia for being unfit, the want-away Anthony Martial for not rushing back to the tour following the birth of his child, plus – oddly – the referee and assistants being sourced from “baseball”. There has also been continual moaning about starting the trip without 13 frontline players due to post-World Cup holidays.
In comparison this is what other Premier League managers had to say about the efforts of their youth players.