The most disappointing result for the top 6 at the weekend was at Old Trafford.
Mourinho only needs to remember Van Gaal’s sacking on the day of winning the FA cup to know the relative balance of priorities between cup competitions and the league.
The failure at home to beat a Bournemouth side reduced to ten men raises questions about an assumed narrative that has Man Utd returning to the top 4.
In his post-match interview Mourinho chooses to focus attention on the first-half.
“We played a phenomenal first half and we should be winning 3 or 4 nil and we end the first half at 1-1.”.
“It is as simple as that. Who can I blame? Ourselves. Nobody else.”
And yet it is not as simple as that.
Instead, we have the use of apoplanesis as the subject is quickly changed from “ourselves” to “a team that gave up to play”.
We have auxesis in his use of inflated language, in addition to “giving up”, their goalkeeper was “phenomenal”.
And we have a logos that it is very difficult to score when you have 1o men who do not want to win.
He has changed the narrative from the problems at his own club to a critique of Bournemouth, while covering his tracks by claiming he is “not critical” of Bournemouth’s approach.
Mourinho may not be in the top 4, but in his use of rhetoric, there are few managers who can touch him.
Leadership communication lesson
Communication is a skill to be learned and to be developed. Mourinho will have likely learned through observation and repetition, rather than studying the underlying rhetorical skills, but learning these skills is an invaluable shortcut for anyone who finds themselves in a leadership role. Look at Obama, look at Mourinho and even look at Donald Trump. It is the command of language that, time and time again, separates leaders from followers.