We're barely 24 hours into the new year and we already have more drama than we can handle.
Thanks to an early substitution of Juan Mata and André Schürrle, the former of which was apparently very displeased with the state of those comfy chairs in the visitors bench area of St. Mary's Stadium, we've gone full monty on the National Mata Crisis Service. With more clothes and less dancing of course.
Tabloids and fans alike wasted no time in ringing the alert bell. Mourinho's "failure" to flat out caregorically deny even the slightest hint of a remote possiblity of selling Juan Mata only added to the fire. Bee-do bee-do bee-do bee-do... I think there are still a few leftover minions running around WAGNH towers.
What seems to have been reported a bit less prominently, if reported at all, was José's assertion that by the time everybody got back to the dressing rooms, everything was muito copacetic.
"I think his frustration was because of the result because we knew we had to win. If we don't win this game the difference to the leaders is bigger. When he came off the team was losing two points, so I think his frustration was about that. At the end of the game everybody, including him, was happy in the dressing room and everybody was celebrating the victory."
Sure, Mourinho is the master of spin under the guise of straight talk. Sure, Mata hinted at not being entirely happy about how things have gone in the second half of 2013 on his personal blog. Yet, we know that he's a fantastic professional and while he may have let the mask slip for just a second, I'm sure he'll be back to his composed, committed-to-the-cause self in no time flat.
Another flashpoint that got somewhat shrouded behind the full Mata was Oscar's reprehensible dive just a couple minutes after coming on. The timing was about as awkward as it could get, considering Mourinho's words about Luis Suarez from the match before. This one then needed the diplomacy turned all the way up to eleven.
"He deserved to get booked. It's strange because Oscar is a clean player, he was waiting for the keeper to come and smash him because that usually happens, but the keeper wasn't coming, he stopped. I accepted his explanation to me, Oscar found himself in a moment of contradiction in a fraction of a second. It's a fair yellow card for a clean player."
Oh those Brazilians and their five-second moments! Fair enough I suppose, and with the act rightly punished by a yellow card (unlike, as José claimed, Suarez's dive), we can probably close the book on that one.