That, gentlemen, is how you conduct your transfer business in public.
Mourinho's recent utterances on Wayne Rooney have been a study in masterful duplicity.
Last week he reassured United that, out of respect, he wouldn't make another bid for Rooney until after they played Chelsea on Monday.
Translation: We'll definitely bid again. But not now - we'd rather leave it hanging over you for a while so he’s still in limbo when we play you.
Last night he praised the 'special' United fans who cheered Rooney despite a summer of trying to be anywhere but Old Trafford. Mourinho said if Rooney wanted to stay, he'd be the first to respect it.
Translation: We still want you, buy you have to tell us if you still want to come.
That's the stuff - brazen pursuit of Rooney somehow dressed up as 'respectful'.
This ultimatum leapt on to many of the back pages, shoving off a forgettable match with no goals and no major controversy.
Small wonder Mourinho is darling of the press box, a place inhabited by people whose love of a good quote far exceeds their appreciation of an efficiently-executed high pressing game.
And, much as it's easy to mock the media's lack of tactical nous, they are only reflecting their audience.
Read a Spanish sports paper and, behind the made-up transfer stories, you'll see endless dissections of formations, defensive schemes, overlapping full backs and reverse wingers.
Over here it's just managers blasting each other, Frank Lampard roaring out title warnings and other tabloid staples. And that, by and large, is what the public wants.
This is a country whose pre-eminent football writer appears to have a list of his top 10 press conferences.
That's in with a bullet into top 10 press conferences I've been to, probably top 5: pure fireworks from Benitez. Crazy having a pop at board
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) February 27, 2013
Spain's equivalent to Henry Winter probably ranks his favourite false nines.
Hardly surprising the Spanish didn't take to Mourinho, a man who offers so much off the pitch, but regularly so little on it (apart from results, obviously).
His pragmatic neutralisation of United last night had its merits, even the hilarious game-killing introduction of Cesar Azpilicueta 15 seconds from the end of scheduled play.
But there wasn't much football to talk about, was there?
So what about Rooney?
I have long felt the best thing for United would be to cash in on a player who - despite a strong performance last night - has lost his appetite to play for the club.
However, while it may be the best thing from a narrow 'team' point of view, to sell the player now would represent a political disaster for David Moyes.
Mourinho's pursuit of the player and Moyes's resistance have turned this into a trial of strength. If Rooney goes to Chelsea, Mourinho will have won and Moyes lost.
United could have got away with offloading him earlier in the summer, and doing so on their own terms.
But the minute they insisted Wayne Rooney was not for sale, United ensured he could not leave without the club looking horribly weak.
If he stays, it will represent a minor success in Moyes asserting himself over his players and fending off a rival – but then he’s stuck with a moping Wayne Rooney for another year.
The United manager was left non-committally parroting the party line about going for 'the best players' when asked if he was trying to hijack Real Madrid's move for Gareth Bale.
It seems wholly unlikely, but if United did sign Bale it would be a bold, ruthless and above all successful move - everything they haven't been this summer.
It is the kind of move you can imagine Mourinho making - but Moyes?
Time will tell, but if he pulls it off, however exorbitant the price, it will wipe out doubts over his ability to lure top players at a stroke.
Until then, the shadow of Mourinho will continue to lurk over Moyes's shoulder.