Over the years, Jose Mourinho has earned a reputation as a fine deflector, strategically highlighting specific issues in order to take the attention away from other subjects.
While he may not have brought up the situation relating to Paul Pogba's form and the reports of their apparently strained relationship, Mourinho certainly did little to cool the discussion with his "lies" and "b*******" rant in the news conference before Saturday's laboured 2-0 win at Huddersfield Town.
And, just like that, with Wednesday' Champions League tie against Sevilla on the horizon, few people are talking about United's recent struggles or their laborious performances - everyone is talking about Pogba.
NO TEAM IDENTITY, NO FEAR FACTOR
It is worth noting that many of United's problems arguably begin and end with Pogba, the player who could - and should - be the answer to some of Mourinho's biggest issues.
It is well documented that, at United, Pogba has rarely occupied his favoured position on the left of a midfield trio in a 4-3-3 formation, with the former Juventus star generally deployed in a deeper two alongside Nemanja Matic, preventing him from playing with the freedom that brings the best out of his immense creative talents.
Shoehorning Pogba into a role that restricts him is detrimental to the side in general and is surely a major contributing factor to United's alarming lack of identity under Mourinho, and the consequent absence of a "fear factor" - an accusation levelled by Newcastle United defender Jamaal Lascelles after their recent 1-0 win over the Red Devils.
They may be second in the Premier League, but if a player for struggling Newcastle believes United have no "fear factor", then their hopes of going deep into the Champions League already look doomed, even against a Sevilla side who have endured a turbulent season of their own.
STARTING FROM SCRATCH
Vincenzo Montella finds himself in a similar position at Sevilla to Mourinho in some senses, particularly in terms of a search for a team identity. Much like United, the Andalusians have generally been associated with a free-flowing, attack-minded style in the recent past. Even under the pragmatic Unai Emery they set pulses racing with a vibrant and devastating brand of counter-attacking football that won them three successive Europa League titles.
But any semblance of a specific 'philosophy' quickly vanished during the ill-fated tenure of Eduardo Berizzo. Billed as being a ready-made - if less gung-ho - replacement for Jorge Sampaoli, things were never right under the former Celta Vigo coach. Too often Sevilla had to rely on individual moments to secure results and, while his sacking - shortly after successful prostate cancer surgery - attracted criticism, the combination of consistently concerning performances and strained relations with key players ultimately cost him his job.
With Sampaoli's systems long forgotten and the team looking alarmingly muddled, Montella essentially had to start from scratch in his attempts to establish a setup that works for the team. The fact Sevilla were embarrassed 5-3 at home by bitter rivals Real Betis in his first LaLiga game tells all about their cohesion when the Italian arrived.
Much of the blame has been laid at the feet of sporting director Oscar Arias, the man given the seemingly impossible task of replacing Monchi, their revered transfer guru and inspiration for Sevilla's successes in the past 12 years. His exit to Roma was probably a bigger blow than the departure of any coach or player in the club's history, while Arias' signings since have so far been more miss than hit.
But Montella is doing his best to steady things in a new era. While Sevilla's erratic performances remain a worry, the new coach certainly deserves praise for quickly identifying a preferred starting XI, setting out a style that relies heavily on wingers and calming some disgruntled players. Steven N'Zonzi, Joaquin Correa, Pablo Sarabia and club-record signing Luis Muriel were all underwhelming under Berizzo, but they have been crucial since the turn of the year.
Despite Sevilla's improvement and the talents of the exquisite Ever Banega in midfield, however, their lack of consistency means this is a tie United should be winning, regardless of Mourinho's Pogba frustrations.
But, as two fine recent wins over Atletico Madrid showed, this is a Sevilla side that likes the big occasion and should not be underestimated. Elimination for United will leave little else to play for this season and Mourinho's talents for deflection will need to reach Luke Skywalker levels if he is to come out the other side unscathed.
|I choose the Galaxy! - Ibrahimovic confirms LA switch|
|Retiring Morkel joins the 300 club|
|Parker accuses Joshua of disrespect towards NZ media|
|Roberto Carlos declares Neymar and Brazil the World Cup favourites|
|Kluivert tells son Justin to snub Manchester United for Barcelona|
|It´s hard to swing it when it´s not round - Anderson unhappy with pink ball|
|Reading appoint former Swansea boss Clement|
|I had to get out of my comfort zone - Goretzka explains Bayern switch|
|Isaako kicks Broncos to golden-point win over Tigers|
|Adelaide United 5 Newcastle Jets 2: Five-star Reds end winless streak|
|Crusaders back to winning ways as Rebels rout Sharks|
|Goals, nutmegs and cheers - Usain Bolt impresses in Borussia Dortmund training|
|Ricciardo given three-place grid penalty|
|Williamson frustrated not to kick on after record-breaking century|
|De Bruyne: Don´t compare me to Messi and Ronaldo|
|Raza apologises for Zimbabwe´s World Cup woe|
|Real Madrid can win the Champions League, Roberto Carlos claims|
|Martinez determined to earn World Cup place|
|Horner and Arrivabene clash over Ferrari´s recruitment from FIA|
|Williamson notches record ton but rain frustrates New Zealand|
|Arthur ´counting the days´ to Barcelona switch|
|English football must address racism, says Southgate|
|Alisson can be world´s best – Taffarel|
|Rockets need OT to beat Pistons, Hornets record sixth biggest win|
|Hamilton contract to be finalised ´soon´, says Wolff|
|Warriors star Curry ´definitely´ wants ownership stake in Panthers|
|Kings´ Kopitar tallies first four-goal game|
|Ter Stegen dismisses ´Messi with gloves´ label|
|Medvedev fumes after win, Shapovalov battles through|
|Buffon: Messi more complete than Ronaldo|
|Neymar is irreplaceable, says Tite|
|Halep joined by Pliskova and Kerber on mixed day for seeds in Miami|
|Rahm joins Johnson in early elimination, McIlroy hits back|
|Red Wings´ Green to undergo cervical spine surgery|
|Conti: Milan much better thanks to Gattuso|
|Show must go on in Hollywood! - Pogba and Mkhitaryan say Ibrahimovic goodbyes|
|Arthur: I´ll find out if Messi is from this planet|
|Barcelona better than Real Madrid even if Neymar signs - Iniesta|
|I haven´t booked a holiday yet - Leno hoping for World Cup call|
|I may be 40 but I´m still Juve´s number one – Buffon bullish over Italy return|
|Italy coach Di Biagio dismisses Raiola rage over Balotelli snub|
|Lopetegui not ruling out Martinez World Cup chances|
|Late Widnes rally sees off Salford|
|Ailing Halep battles past Dodin in Miami|
|Spain defender Ramos targeting Casillas caps record|
|Pogba gets no special treatment from Deschamps|
|Defending champion Johnson dumped out of WGC Dell Match Play|
|Ibrahimovic to LA Galaxy? Beckham, Drogba, Pirlo and the other stars to try MLS|
|Wilshere out for England with Pickford to face Netherlands|
|Southgate rejects England safety concerns over World Cup|
|Great things come to an end - Ibrahimovic confirms Man Utd departure|
|This is Messi´s team - Sampaoli puts faith in Barcelona superstar|
|Tony Romo plays rollercoaster first round in PGA Tour debut|
|Total embarrassment: Hussain and Willis slam England following Auckland humiliation|
|Elgar urges South Africa to ´brush off´ disappointment of collapse|
|Juventus to play in MLS All-Star Game|
|Low confirms Can will miss Spain game|
|Tiger´s Masters timeline: Can Woods rediscover his best Augusta form?|
|Morgan to captain World XI for T20 hurricane fundraiser|
|Ibrahimovic released by Manchester United|
|Santos not interested in Ronaldo to China links|
|French Open prize money up to €2.2m for singles champions|
|WATCH: Messi scores superb solo strike in Argentina training|
|Zimbabwe´s World Cup hopes all but over after UAE loss|
|Koeman names Van Dijk new Netherlands captain|
|Dybala and Icardi´s World Cup hopes doused by Sampaoli|
|Pierre-Paul joins revamped Bucs pass rush in trade|
|I almost s*** myself - Pique on Keane rant|
|UEFA order PSG to close Auteuil stand|
|Cummins puts Australia in control as South Africa collapse after tea|