Jose Mourinho has refused to shed light on what happened in the tunnel between Manchester United and Manchester City players following his side’s 2-1 derby defeat on Sunday.
The 54-year-old stormed into the visiting changing room to tell Pep Guardiola’s men, who were celebrating noisily and blaring music, to show some respect.
An argument with goalkeeper Ederson ensued and a bottle was thrown in Mourinho’s direction, prompting a brawl involving both sets of players that led to Mikel Arteta suffering a cut to his forehead.
But Mourinho, when asked about the exact nature of the conflict, was quick to skirt over the issue.
“This press conference is pre-Bournemouth, it is not post-Manchester City, that was already done and this press conference is pre-Bournemouth,” he said. “I know but I keep saying this is pre-Bournemouth.”
“He says he says, I’m not here to comment on his words the only thing I can say is that for me was just a question of diversity, diversity in behaviours, diversity in education, just that and nothing more than that.”
What Mourinho is essentially saying here is that, under his watch, players would not conduct their celebrations in such an extravagant, noisy way. People grow up differently and receive different educations, and when it comes to the rivalry between Mourinho and Guardiola this rings especially true.
Whether we can put what happened on Sunday down to Guardiola himself or the wider modern selfies-in-the-dressing-room culture is hard to say. Maybe it’s a bit of both. But this entire fiasco has once again shed light on an unshakeable truth: that the battle is never really over for Mourinho.
Even in the dressing room, when the result has been decided, he will make his presence felt and his thoughts known to anyone who’ll listen. City were clearly celebrating like a team that had just won the Premier League, and there was obviously something in the tone of the celebration that sent Mourinho into full Mourinho mode, creating a drama that ultimately overshadowed what was actually important.