The 26-year-old, with both feat in the air, lunged at the on-rushing Wilfried Zaha during the first half and should have received his marching orders from referee Craig Pawson.
As it was, the Argentine only picked up a booking for a challenge that was eerily similar to the one he committed against Everton earlier this month, which only yielded a stern warning from Michael Oliver.
Mourinho, speaking after the game, shirked any questions concerning Rojo’s challenge and disappointed the headline writers by bluntly refusing to comment on Pawson’s poor refereeing performance at Selhurst Park.
“Rojo is playing phenomenal,” he said.
“Jones is playing phenomenal. I didn’t discuss the Danny Rose tackle, I didn’t discuss the David Luiz tackle.
“I am not going to discuss the Marcos Rojo tackle. He is an aggressive, clean player, probably playing the best football of his career.”
I’ve started to realise that Mourinho has two modes in post-match interviews: the first is the fully fledged, highly dangerous prickly mode, replete with snide comments about the referee, public criticism of players and deadpanning remarks to journalists – a kind of distilled passive aggression, if you will. The second mode is more or less complete silence. “I choose not to speak,” he once memorably said. And following a game riddled with controversy and scathing referring decisions for both sides to digest, Mourinho was probably wise to opt for the latter mode.
The 53-year-old may have been muted in his post-match exchanges, but one suspects that he’ll adopt a more vehement tone with Rojo himself. This is the second time he has almost endangered the entire side with a sloppy, straight-red challenge, somehow avoiding anything more than one yellow card.
Two footed challenges are not just inherently dangerous; they have a remarkably low success rate and always provide the referee with a decision to make – even when such a challenge leads to the defender getting the ball. Rojo will consider himself extremely lucky.