LONDON • In an extraordinary 121/2-minute non-stop outburst ahead of today's FA Cup quarter-final with Brighton, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho took aim at sections of the Old Trafford faithful that had booed their Champions League last-16, second-leg defeat by Sevilla on Tuesday.
United's exit to the LaLiga side has attracted the most stinging criticism due to his overly cautious approach, as doubts grow over his suitability to lead a club made famous for attacking sides under European Cup-winning managers Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson.
But the Portuguese, reading from a neat piece of green paper, reminded fans and critics who were disappointed with the shockingly leaden performance that United's recent "football heritage" in Europe's showpiece tournament had been nothing to shout about.
"I say to the fans that the fans are the fans and have the right to their opinions and reactions, but there is something that I used to call football heritage," he said.
"And what a manager inherits is something like the last time United won the Champions League, which didn't happen a lot of times, in 2008. Since 2011/2012, out in the group phase... in 2013 out at Old Trafford in the last 16... in 2014, out in the quarter-final.
"In 2015, no European football. In 2016, comes back to European football, out in the group phase... So in seven years with four different managers, once not qualifying for Europe, twice out in the group phase and the best was the quarter final, this is football heritage.
"If you want to go to the Premier League, the last victory was in 2012-13 and in the four consecutive seasons... the best was fourth. This is football heritage."
Mourinho also claimed that United supporters would not have swopped last weekend's 2-1 win over Liverpool with progression in the Champions League.
"I'm pretty sure some of the Manchester United supporters would not change a victory against Liverpool for one versus Sevilla even if the defeat by Sevilla means we end the competition," he added.
"Every match is different and important."
United have little time to lick their wounds or to digest Mourinho's rant fully, as Brighton's visit to Old Trafford in the FA Cup represents their last realistic hope of winning a trophy this season.
"We have one trophy to chase and that is the FA Cup," said striker Romelu Lukaku, who was one of few players to emerge with any credit from the Sevilla defeat after netting his 24th goal of the season.
Chris Hughton's Brighton side will be tricky opponents though, having made a good fist of their first season of English Premier League football, sitting 11th in the table and they are in the last eight for the first time since 1986.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS