LONDON • As the game entered stoppage time, everything had seemed so orderly, with Jose Mourinho keeping to his word to rein in his emotions at the home of some of his greatest triumphs if his team were winning.
And he was showing great restraint, with Chelsea fans hounding him in the same way that had happened on his three previous visits back to his former club as the Manchester United manager, serenading him with chants of "F*** off Mourinho".
But it was in the sixth minute of added time when everything changed as Mourinho lost the plot, leading to a confrontation in the tunnel, which literally shook because of the number of people who were involved.
The Portuguese was clearly provoked by the fist-pumping manner in which Chelsea second assistant coach Marco Ianni celebrated Ross Barkley's late equaliser directly in front of him as the Blues snatched a last-gasp 2-2 draw yesterday.
Until the stewards intervened, Mourinho, who wanted to chase Ianni down the tunnel, looked like he would throttle his antagonist. And, although he accepted the Italian's apology afterwards, the Football Association is likely to demand for an explanation for the bust-up.
"What happened with (Maurizio) Sarri's assistant, Sarri was the first one to come to me and say he would resolve the problem internally with me," Mourinho told Sky Sports.
"And, after that, his assistant came to me in Sarri's office, and apologised to me. I said, 'If you really feel that way and want to apologise, I'll accept it because I've made mistakes in my time too'. He apologised and I accepted."
ALL IS WELL
His assistant came to me in Sarri's office, and apologised to me. I said, 'If you really feel that way and want to apologise, I'll accept it because I've made mistakes in my time too'.
JOSE MOURINHO, Manchester United manager, on accepting Chelsea assistant coach Marco Ianni's apology.
I spoke with Jose and I spoke with my staff because we were on the wrong side. I have dealt with it immediately. It's private.
MAURIZIO SARRI, Chelsea manager, admitting that his side were at fault for provoking Mourinho.
Chelsea manager Sarri also accepted that Ianni's exuberant celebrations crossed the line, adding: "I spoke with Jose and I spoke with my staff because we were on the wrong side. I have dealt with it immediately. It's private."
Given the circumstances, it was almost a surprise that Mourinho calmed down quickly enough to shake Sarri's hand at full-time.
His collected demeanour did not hold up for long though, as he held up his three fingers to signify the number of Premier League titles he won in the direction of the home supporters, who were baiting him as he made his way off the pitch.
Later, when asked about whether he was shown respect by the away fans, Mourinho said: "No, I don't think so, I did not get respect back from Chelsea (fans), but that's not my responsibility."
Mourinho had only tasted defeat in west London with the Red Devils, and there was certainly the first sense of deja vu when Antonio Rudiger headed Chelsea into the lead after 20 minutes in a comfortable first half for the Blues.
After the interval, however, it must have been startling for Sarri to see the way his team lose their way and perhaps, for the first time, there was hard evidence as to why he has continually insisted that his team are not equipped to sustain a title challenge.
Instead, it was United who took control with two goals from a renascent Anthony Martial and a second-half display that - until the late, dramatic twist - was probably summed up by Mourinho stepping on the pitch to give the forward a congratulatory slap on the back for chasing down an opponent.
Plainly, there are still imperfections and it will not be lost on Mourinho that his side have kept only one clean sheet all season.
However, it still felt like a case of "two points dropped" as United defender Luke Shaw tweeted afterwards, and Mourinho rued the "awful" kick in the teeth, which denied his team a first win at Stamford Bridge in six years.
"We were so much in control, we were so much the best team in the second half that we clearly deserved to win the match," he lamented.
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