Shush, it’s dystopian football!

CALL him The Shushing One. The first time he tried to quiet the crowd it was aimed at Liverpool fans during the League Cup final of 2005. On Saturday it was a message to his own fans – in the moment of victory.

You don't need a Masters' in Mourinho studies to know which was the more significant. Even if part of it may have been ego – stealing the show although there wasn't much to steal – he was attempting to quell the murmurs.

You'd have thought Anthony Martial's winner had already done that judging by the huge roar of relief that greeted it at Old Trafford. It was the same in the KL pub where I watched – as a neutral surrounded by Devils' fans.

That he felt it necessary to make the point even after the player he had brought on to boos from the crowd had done the business told its own tale. He could have gloated about his masterstroke but, no, like a tin-pot dictator, he preferred to shush the dissenting voices.

He repeated the message to the press afterwards. "Some people speak too much," he told them. "Calm down, relax a little bit. Relax." Clearly, the boos and the headlines post-Huddersfield and post-Anfield had got to him.

With antennae as sharp as his tongue, Mourinho is anything but a tin-pot manager. And he's very much aware of the exalted seat he's occupying and the exalted traditions of the club – as he made abundantly clear in the grovelling letter he wrote to get the job.

His predecessor, Louis van Gaal, did not "get" United and was taking them only sideways. Turgidly. Fans understandably pined for the Alex Ferguson era but Mourinho knew he could not turn the clock back. No one can and for the Portuguese it would have been against his natural instinct to even try.

So what we are seeing now is a concerted attempt both on and off the field to wean fans away from those heady days – aka in terms of style at least to lower expectations. His unsaid message is: Stick with me and I'll deliver but it won't be as exciting.

Last season, like any new boy, he was on his best behaviour and got lucky to land two trophies – the League Cup win over Southampton was larceny – and the Europa League was a gamble that paid off.

Bolstered by that double triumph and having returned the club to the Big Boys League in Europe, he is now seeking acceptance for his own distinct modus operandi. That he should come close to parking the bus at Old Trafford – even for a half – is a measure of his greater confidence in the hot seat.

He was the only big-name boss available at the time and there's no way he's going to be sacked in the foreseeable future. But the Glazers are no doubt happier with him than those dissenting fans.

To be fair, he's brought in a few players with something about them – Zlatan Ibrahimovich, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku. And he is trying to meld them with a token youngster – Marcus Rashford – even if that seems grudging at times.

But he has been fortunate this season too. Had David de Gea not got a telescopic boot to Joel Matip's tap-in at Anfield, had Dele Alli not missed on Saturday and had Harry Kane been playing.

The fact that Old Trafford had the temerity to boo tells us that with the fans Mourinho is still treading something of a tightrope.

On Saturday, he got away with it again but only through a prod off a shin pad after uncharacteristic errors by two of Tottenham's most reliable defenders.

United just about deserved it but I doubt whether putting his finger to his lips would have silenced the derision had they not scored. Even in KL there were mutterings of discontent among United fans and a lively debate ensued about the need for United to move away from the Ferguson era.

For me it was another Saturday night spoiled and I feel that football – even the EPL – can ill afford to have many more Big Six encounters, with all the hype they're given, to be such miserable, anti-climatic non-events. People will turn off.

I had watched Blade Runner earlier in the day. And the thought occurred that if Mourinho carries on like this, he will not just be the "enemy of football" for playing "anti-football", but for playing … dystopian football.

Even if he wins another trophy this season, he's going to have to keep shutting people up. And with his nemesis having the fans in utopia just across town, that may be beyond even The Shushing One.

Bob will be signing copies of his book Living the Dream… or Enduring the Nightmare? from 7.00pm at Sid's Pub 34, Lorong Rahim Kajai 14, TTDI, 60000 Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, November 5, before Sunday's Triple header – Spurs vs Palace, Man City vs Arsenal, Chelsea vs Man U.