Jose Mourinho's tirade over perceived injustices against his Chelsea side may have been a tactic designed to invoke a siege mentality among his players.
The Chelsea boss railed about a "clear campaign" against his side after Cesc Fabregas was booked for diving in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Southampton, when the Spain midfielder could easily have been given a penalty.
The Sporting Mind's Andy Barton, a mental performance coach, said: "Whether it's consciously calculated, which is a strong possibility, or whether it's an emotional response, which is also a strong possibility, Mourinho has, time and time again, shown a siege mentality with his teams, by creating common enemies.
"If you make yourself out to be a victim in a situation, if you've got loyalty in your team, which he does, it just creates a stronger bond.
"If you create a common enemy you have something to rally your team around and so they're supporting a particular cause. You create a purpose in your team."
The timing was curious given Chelsea have now dropped points in three of their last four Premier League away games, including a first loss of the season at Newcastle.
At the time of Mourinho speaking Manchester City looked like closing the gap at the top of the standings to one point, until Burnley struck a late leveller against them.
Mourinho's comments are a tactic familiar to Premier League audiences and reminiscent of another fine sports psychologist.
Barton added: "It's the kind of thing Alex Ferguson was very good at; making a point in a way where it made other people think."