Yet they failed to make it into the final eight of the Champions League, beaten by Sevilla, who are the club with the lowest revenue remaining in the tournament. Since 2011: 2012 out in the group phase. Benfica, Basel and Galati from Romania. In 2013, out at Old Trafford in the last 16 and I was on the other bench [with Real Madrid].
Mourinho subsequently launched a 12-minute defence of his United record at Friday's news conference ahead of an FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton and Hove Albion. In 2015, no European football. In 2016, comes back in the Champions League and out in the group phase.
"I can not be in a competition, go there and say we have no chance". This is football heritage.
"Well done, my decision was based on the same thing, I could be in another country with the league in the pocket, I am here and I am going to be here and no way am I going to change my mentality".
So in the last four years the best was fourth.
He's correct. United have been rubbish in Europe before he joined; a result of years of underinvestment under a great manager, followed by poor investment under two rubbish managers.
'I never played with Messi and when I was Ronaldo's manager we didn't manage to win the Champions League.
The picture is much brighter under Mourinho, with him winning two trophies in his debut season and the team now four points clear of the team closest to them in third.
The injuries and suspensions mean there will are likely to be starts for Markus Suttner, Beram Kayal and Solly March.
I've spoken to a few of the supporters this week that said they were a bit disappointed by some of the performance levels against Sevilla.
Those stats are real.
"So, the fans, they read what people write, they listen what people say - and the people that write and the people that say, are people with a lot of ideas and I used to call people with a lot of ideas idealists or idiots - they can be both".
When I arrived in Real Madrid, do you know how many players quarter final of the Champions League?
Of course, there was a Copa del Rey and LaLiga title at Real Madrid and United collected the EFL Cup and Europa League past year, but it is telling that Mourinho's spells with the two super clubs have felt more like a torrent of relentless invective than carefully plotted bids for trophies.
"The players are back to the training ground, and focusing in an important match on Saturday as I was saying these two matches against Sevilla and Brighton, if you win you're in, if you're lose you're out".
Repeated references to "football heritage" were the foundations of a self-preservation act built on sand.
Again, Mourinho is largely correct. However it seems that Mourinho's message is clear, mediocrity will not be accepted, and that the squad still isn't good enough.
But whether he can land the knockout punch on Manchester City remains to be seen. For some fans, this is a much needed reality check.
Mourinho said he was "on the same page" as the club owners and executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, adding: "We agree on everything, on the investments". In 2004-05, Mourinho delivered instantly and retained the crown the following year.