Jose Mourinho rarely says anything without a hidden meaning behind it.
And so it proved with the Portuguese’s comments about Issa Diop following Saturday’s humbling against West Ham.
Mourinho credited the scout that found the central defender, who joined West Ham for £22m this summer. Combined with his decision to play Scott McTominay at centre-half, just a few weeks after his fellow midfielder Ander Herrera played at the back against Spurs, it was another thinly veiled message.
Mourinho feels he should have been bought a defender in the summer, but his self-preserving comments miss the point.
Diop should have been on United’s radar
He looked more assured than any of United’s options and kept Romelu Lukaku quiet; not that that’s much of a task right now.
But Mourinho talked as if he has no part to play in the process. It is his job, along with his scouting team, to find the gems such as Diop.
Instead, he wasted much of the summer with a pie-in-the-sky overpriced pursuit of Harry Maguire. Again, the England international is another who should have been on the radar at the start of last season.
It is Mourinho and United who should be using their extensive resources to unearth these gems, not waiting for them to be polished up and paying a premium for them.
Mourinho thinks he is being clever and sending a message with his comments, but he is just shining light on another failure of his in the transfer market.