Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has been in this situation before… and it’s about to reach the same gruesome conclusion

THE Special One has made this movie before.

It gets off to a good start, with those dashing looks headlining around the world, before it is eventually panned by the critics.

 Jose Mourinho's been in this film before... and it's heading towards the same gruesome conclusion

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Jose Mourinho's been in this film before… and it's heading towards the same gruesome conclusion

The latest instalment — Jose Mourinho: Manchester United Manager — is reaching its inevitable, gruesome conclusion after the humiliating 3-1 defeat at West Ham.

United’s lead man accused his players of acting, fooling him when they leave their vanity vans and walk on set at the Theatre of Dreams wearing those famous red shirts.

Mourinho said: “Sometimes what it looks like is exactly the opposite — you can be laughing and be the saddest person in world, and you can be with a very sad face and be a fantastic actor, and inside you can be very happy.

“So sometimes what we see is not what we get. I think some players care more than others.

Jose Mourinho admits he thinks some players care more than others at Manchester United

 Mourinho's relationship with his Man Utd players, especially Paul Pogba, is at rock bottom

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Mourinho's relationship with his Man Utd players, especially Paul Pogba, is at rock bottom

“Every player is different, no two players are the same. I see different reactions but sometimes what you see is not really what’s inside.

“I see sad people, I see people who don’t look like they lost the game at West Ham, I see ‘so-so’, but in the little two sessions of training that we had, everyone is normal, everyone is showing the desire to work and play.”

Mourinho did not stick to the script, improvising as he stared down the flashbulbs from the cameras popping away inside United’s swanky No 7 lounge ahead of their Champions League clash with Valencia.

As screen tests go, it was not the most convincing performance.

 Alexis Sanchez is the latest star to feel Jose's wrath

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Alexis Sanchez is the latest star to feel Jose's wrath

The old Jose vintage, such as the time he famously rattled off Barcelona’s starting XI before Chelsea played them in a  Champions League tie in February 2005, is a thing of the past.

He is the Bruce Willis of football management, constantly recycled in the hope that another Die Hard, another Pulp Fiction, another Sixth Sense, is just around the corner.

There is no shame in quitting while you are ahead. For Mourinho to re-invent himself, to bring back some of the magic that saw him conquer Portugal, Italy, Spain and England, will need more than a facelift.

His players got stage fright at the London Stadium last Saturday, forgetting their lines when the  curtain went back at 12.30pm.

Paul Pogba shakes hands with Man Utd players but ignores Jose Mourinho in training session

By the end, with United trailing 3-1, their travelling fans were throwing rotten tomatoes at their disinterested, disaffected heroes.

Men of distinction and stature — Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes — are piling in again as bullets start to fly in Mourinho’s last, desperate scenes.

The Special One added: “After 20 years of football I am still the kid I was 20 years ago and I’m still naive, but I still don’t believe that a player is not honest.

“I told your BT colleague — a channel with lots of men who were big players in the past — to ask these people with great reputations if at any time in their career they went into a game not to give their maximum, not to help the club, not to make the fans happy, not to give their best . . . ask them.

“If somebody tells me ‘I was a football player and, on occasions, I didn’t give my best’ then I will change my opinion.

 Similar situations in the past have never ended well for Mourinho

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Similar situations in the past have never ended well for Mourinho

“But until someone who was a big professional player tells me ‘I was a dishonest player’ I’ll always believe the players are honest players and want to give their best.

“If they do it on the pitch or don’t do it, that’s a different story. If they perform or don’t perform, that’s a different story. I repeat: I am naive or I still believe football players are honest.”

In that case, he should look into the eyes of the 11 players who took to the field in United colours to face West Ham.

That was a freak show, with the starters hopelessly failing an audition in front of a captive audience watching it all unfold live on television.

Jose Mourinho appears to confirm Sun reporter's story over rumours he’s spoken with Zinedine Zidane about his job

The unrelenting fixture list means United have been invited back for another go at it tonight against Valencia, this time in front of 76,000 supporters inside their famous sporting cathedral.

They are a demanding bunch, spoiled by the cavalier exploits of the teams who won 13 Premier League titles and twice lifted the European Cup under Sir Alex Ferguson.

It is such a long time ago that it feels like those moments were filmed in black and white.

Mourinho added: “The Champions League is always a good week, even if you expect a difficult match and face a difficult opponent.

“It’s a big week, everyone wants to play Champions League but not everyone can do it. We are here and we have the chance to play in it. So it is a big match and a big week.”

Lose this and Mourinho really will be a box-office bomb.

THE Special One has made this movie before.