Jose Mourinho’s decision to supply Marcos Rojo with a peeled banana during Manchester United’s 1-0 win over FC Rostov on Thursday night has been questioned by former England manager Glenn Hoddle.
The United boss prepared the mid-match snack for defender Rojo live on BT Sport, before giving it to substitute Ashley Young, who delivered it to his hungry teammate in the 73rd minute.
But was Rojo even hungry?
Mourinho put on his most serious face as he discussed the issue in his post-game TV interview.
The BT Sport reporter tried to make light of the situation and perhaps even get Jose to crack a smile, but Mourinho responded by delivering a stern lecture on the importance of bananas in sport.
However, Hoddle isn’t convinced that Mourinho’s decision to whip out fruit at Old Trafford was motivated by his desire to energise Rojo.
Pundit Hoddle suspects it was a diversionary tactic, with Mourinho distracting fans and the media away from how poorly his team had played.
It is also thought that Mourinho may have been using the banana as a visible emblem for the tiredness of his players – to emphasise previous points about congested fixture lists.
“If a manager goes out of his way to put excuses there, you’re giving the players an excuse,” Hoddle said on ITV, as quoted by the Daily Star.
“If they play poorly, they come back with all the excuses. He can’t have it both ways.
“For me, that interview could have been done before the game. He knew what he was doing with the banana. He knew that it was helping make his point.
“We’re talking about bananas, we’re talking about schedules instead of actually how poor they were on the day.
“They got through, they won the game and that’s the main thing for Man United. They’re in the quarter-finals.
“Why not come out and just say we were poor today? “It’s a good sign if you’re poor and you win the game.”