For about three minutes after Manchester United's utterly predictable 1-1 draw with Everton at Old Trafford, José Mourinho snapped out of his recent lunacy and assessed a game on its merits, presumably much to John Giles' glee.
United were poor in the opening half, creating little and conceding to a clever finish but, more pertinently, altogether appalling goal by Phil Jagielka, with Marcos Rojo showing about as much defensive prowess as a Sean Spicer tasked with explaining why Donald Trump is playing so much bloody golf.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a second-half equaliser chalked off for offside - a decision which nobody under the sun seemed capable of verifying even allowing for the much-coveted 'benefit of the replay'. Truth be told, this fact alone means the goal probably should have stood, as does the position of the big Swede's feet according to Howard Webb in the BT studios.
— eir Sport (@eirSport) April 4, 2017
Mourinho, however, said about six times in his interview that he didn't blame the linesman, and rather creepily he wasn't snarling it sarcastically. He also ascertained that a number of his players lacked confidence not days after he flung four of them under the bus following their 0-0 home draw with West Brom, and admitted United had not played well despite a decent if structure-lacking second half resurgence.
Incredibly, the BT reporter didn't ask Mourinho about Luke Shaw, who earned United a stoppage-time penalty after Ashley Williams dove to save the England fullback's right-footed volley. Shaw, of course, was dragged through the mud by Mourinho on Sunday, and so while United and Everton shared the spoils, the pesky narrative was the real winner.
Later, during his BBC interview, Mourinho was quizzed about Shaw and said some extremely weird things:
[Shaw] has lots of potential, but the football brain and the professional brain has to be with the talent. He has to change his football brain.
He was doing things in the second half when he was reacting to my voice. If he was on the other side, for sure he would not do it.
I was thinking for him and leading his performance. If he was on the other side it would not be the same and at his level it is not possible. He has to improve and we have to help.
I think he has a future here, but Manchester United cannot wait. We need the kids to grow up.
The fantastic body he has to play football, the fantastic physical qualities and technical, but he cannot play with my brain.
He must accelerate the process. Twenty-one years is old enough to have a better understanding, but his contribution was good to improve the team.
He goes today in a positive feeling because his performance was positive.
You'd wonder why some of his younger players might be short of confidence, all right.