Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has queried the recent antics of Jose Mourinho, voicing his belief that the Chelsea manager's apparent attempts to influence referees and the Football Association are simply not working.
Mourinho, who can claim his first piece of silverware since returning to Stamford Bridge on Sunday as his team contest the League Cup final against London rivals Tottenham, has grown increasingly agitated with decisions that have cost Chelsea in recent weeks and with what he obviously perceives to be an agenda from certain sections of the media against the club.
This unhappiness culminated in a surprise appearance on Sky's Goals on Sunday programme last weekend, during which the Portuguese described Ashley Barnes's late lunge on midfielder Nemanja Matic, for which the Burnley forward received no punishment either at the time or retrospectively, as 'criminal' and criticised the coverage given to Diego Costa's stamp on Emre Can during the clash with Liverpool back in January.
The FA's decision not to completely overturn the three-match ban handed to Matic after he was dismissed for an understandably aggressive reaction to Barnes's ill-timed challenge has only served to perpetuate Mourinho's claims, yet Scholes does not believe that his continued lobbying is having the desired impact.
"As the most successful manager in the Premier League and its biggest name now that Sir Alex Ferguson has gone, it should be no great surprise to see Jose Mourinho doing his very best to influence the decision-makers in the game, from referees to the Football Association," the 11-time Premier League winner wrote in his latest column for The Independent.
"The problem for the Chelsea manager is that I just don't think it is working for him. It is inevitable that he would try. All the top managers do it, and I suppose he should be applauded for making the effort to get himself into a television studio and engage in some kind of debate, as he did on Sunday. Everything he does is for the good of his team and I understand the reasons he does it.
"It just seems to me there is an unwillingness among referees to be influenced by him. I am not saying they are making the wrong decisions on purpose, just that there is a resistance to being told what to do. "
Scholes actually appeared to agree with many of Mourinho's opinions on certain high-profile decisions that have not been in Chelsea's favour over recent months. However, the 40-year-old was also eager to remind him about other, more blatant calls which perhaps should have gone against them but did not.
"To be clear, I don't think Nemanja Matic should have been sent off against Burnley," he continued in typically honest fashion.
"I believe that Cesc Fabregas should have been given a penalty against Southampton. I don't think that Diego Costa should have been banned retrospectively for stepping on the ankle of Emre Can. But I also think Mourinho should remember that he has had some close calls in other games that have gone his way.
"The footage of Branislav Ivanovic locking an arm around James McCarthy's throat in the Everton game did not look good. Equally, Gary Cahill, when he kicked Harry Kane in the New Year's Day game at White Hart Lane when the striker was on the ground. Cahill's challenge on Alexis Sanchez in October that angered Arsène Wenger was not too clever either. There is no campaign against Mourinho but there is clearly an unwillingness by referees, and the FA, to be pushed around."
Due to the fact that Matic's ban was only reduced by one match after a review by the FA's regulatory commission despite an appeal lodged by Chelsea, the Serbian international will be forced to miss Sunday's Wembley showpiece.
Scholes, meanwhile, has already hit the headlines this week with speculation suggesting that boyhood club Oldham Athletic could approach the Old Trafford legend about the possibility replacing Lee Johnson as manager of the League One playoff hopefuls.