LONDON: Jose Mourinho has lashed out at the "football Einsteins" who are trying "to delete 16 years of my career".
The remarkable attack came in the wake of Manchester United's unconvincing 3-1 EFL Cup third-round victory over League One side Northampton Town which nevertheless arrested a damaging run of three defeats.
The United manager chose not to conduct a press conference after the tie at Sixfields where a room could not be provided and he would have to speak pitchside - chur-lishly claiming he did not have to do so under the rules of the competition - but chose to hit out in a brief interview with the club's in-house television station, MUTV.
"We had a bad week," Mourinho said before getting his retaliation in: "I know that some football Einsteins - football is full of Einsteins - I know that they try to delete 16 years of my career, they try to delete an unbelievable history of Man United Football Club and to focus on a bad week with three bad results. But that's the new football, it's full of Einsteins."
To an extent it was knockabout stuff from Mourinho but it also betrayed the dark mood he has been in of late with United's recent poor run of form - defeats to Manchester City and Watford in the Premier League and Feyenoord in the
Europa League - compounded by a real sense that he does not know his strongest team or formation.
United are undoubtedly struggling to get the best out of several of their players including world-record pounds 89?million signing Paul Pogba and captain Wayne Rooney, who is in serious danger of being dropped for Saturday's home league match against champions Leicester City.
Rooney's status at United is diminishing game-by-game, it seems, and it was instructive that he played the full 90 minutes against Northampton while other key first-team players only came off the bench or, as with Pogba, were omitted from the match-day squad, did not travel and were rested.
Rooney started as a central stri-ker in a 4-3-3 against Northampton and failed to impress. He went out to the right when substitutes
Marcus Rashford - who is quickly usurping him in importance for United and is now a shoo-in for the next England squad, especially with Harry Kane injured - and Zlatan Ibrahimovic came on and with the score stuck at 1-1.
Rooney has been shifted around positionally and the right of a front three may now actually represent his best prospect of staying in the team at least for the time being although there would appear to not be a long-term future in that role.
With Mourinho tersely, three times, repeating pre-match that he wanted "goals" from the 30-year-old, Rooney has scored just twice in his past 18 appearances for United (which, in fairness, followed a run of seven goals in seven games). Rooney is facing a desperately uncertain future.
Mourinho's attitude, his retaliation, is far from against type but it is surprising that he has reached this point so quickly in his fledgling
career as United manager. He has already hit out at the players, he has hit out at the officials and he has hit out at the media which only leaves him one more place to attack should results not pick up: the United board.
Whether that happens - and he will not be pleased that he did not sign another central defender or by the fact that the club are carrying such a large squad - remains to be seen and there is a pivotal 10-day period looming after a burst of home fixtures.
"We have three home matches now in a row and it is always good to be at home," Mourinho said with games against the Russian side
FC Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League and then against Stoke City after facing Leicester. Three victories are, it would appear, required.
"If the fans have been disappointed with the last week, I understand completely but I am sure they will be behind the team like they always are," Mourinho added.
However after that, and after the international break, it gets even more interesting with United facing Liverpool away, Fenerbahce at home, Chelsea away and then City in the next round of the EFL Cup. All within 10 days.
Ander Herrera, one of the goalscorers against Northampton who is expected to keep his place against Leicester, said: "We are more positive and more optimistic. We want to be at the top of the table and we have to win; we are Man United. Of course we are playing against the last Premier League winners, the champions, so we have to respect them but we have to try to win."
Of the draw against City, Herrera added: "We can show again what we want to do. Two weeks ago we were very disappointed, because we lost in front of our fans against our city opponents. Now we have a chance to play against them, and I am sure it will be different. If we want to win the competition, we will have to beat the best teams."