Manchester City and Liverpool are two points clear of Chelsea, who escaped with their unbeaten record intact, and Tottenham Hotspur, who earned a hard-fought 1-0 win at West Ham United courtesy of Erik Lamela's deft header just before halftime.
United was headed for a stunning and uplifting win when, in the 96th minute, Ross Barkley slammed home a rebound to level the match at 2-2. That caught the attention of the United bench but there was no response until seconds later when Ianni trotted in front of Mourinho again and celebrated with both fists clenched, prompting the latter to try to pursue him down the tunnel. His initial sprint drew no reaction from shellshocked United players and coaches.
Chelsea manager Sarri also accepted that Ianni's exuberant celebrations crossed the line, adding: "I spoke with Jose and I spoke with my staff because we were on the wrong side".
Mourinho was at the center of it all. "We defend mixed, so some players are in zones and some have individual opponents". That resulted in pushing and shoving in the center circle.
Remarkably, all involved acted like responsible adults after the final whistle.
And while Mourinho claimed that the fixture is now just like any other as far as he is concerned, he also conceded that he would not celebrate should United break that run to ease the mounting pressure on their manager.
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"In those hard moments, the moments where he was not selected, not playing regularly, he was saying the same all the time: "I want to play for you and I am going to make it and be the player you want me to be'". I think that he is a very good coach, one of the best in the world".
The scuffle overshadowed what was a thrilling, nonsensical game - in the end a fair result, but not satisfying for either side.
When asked whether Mourinho, who won three Premier League titles with Chelsea, is being shown enough respect at present, Sarri said: "I think, no, at the moment". Mourinho's post-match response? To walk onto the field and hold three fingers up to the home support, signifying the three Premier League titles he won across two spells in charge of Chelsea.
Mourinho will return to Stamford Bridge in the opposition dugout with less hostility than his previous visits as Sarri has nothing but admiration and praise for the Portuguese boss - unlike his predecessor Antonio Conte, who clashed with the United manager on numerous occasions.
The performance was a decent reminder, too.
City moved onto 23 points, ahead only on goal difference from similarly unbeaten Liverpool who, far from their best, were grateful for Salah's sharp first-half victor in their unconvincing slog at Huddersfield.
Romelu Lukaku embodied the changed approach once United went for it.