"You don't just keep time after time say "right, I'm going to fight, eventually I'm going to win".
But as far as the season is concerned, there is still a lot of work left for Mourinho to do, if he is to take United to "where they belong", something which he emphatically promised when he replaced Louis Van Gaal at helm. The 0-0 draw (in the first leg) was not a good performance, but it was a good result.
And Mourinho has been consistent in his assertion all along that this competition doesn't begin in earnest until April, so we shouldn't be too quick to judge where United belong in the overall scheme of things.
Moreover, the attractive style implemented by long-time adversary Pep Guardiola is far more in keeping with that United fans are used to seeing than the fare offered up by Mourinho's tactics.
Manchester United's stunning win against Liverpool was the ideal example of Mourinho's pragmatism, coupled with his team's effectiveness in front of the goal.
"It's good that you can be around him to have a laugh and reassure him that it's going to come good and that if he gets a chance he will perform, and he has done that today", he said. While there were no shots on target from either side until Marcus Rashford's epic 14th-minute goal - and only four in total during the entire game - the home side was attack-minded throughout. The 2-1 victory over arch rivals Liverpool was a Mourinho master class in how to negate the opposition and collect the points. Probably more - probably a third as Juan Mata's shot would have been [an] unbelievable and fantastic [goal].
Milinkovic-Savic has scored nine goals and registered two assists in Serie A this campaign, so United are likely to face considerable competition for his signature. He should be protected at the back with a similar backline of Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling playing at its heart.
It has also been said - rightly - that atmosphere is lacking at Old Trafford, but that was not the case on Saturday. No one will remember which teams Manchester United beat if the bulging cabinet at Old Trafford doesn't see new additions this term.
Mourinho has a dilemma whether to play Pogba, even if fit, after his midfield pairing of Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay impressed against Liverpool. A ideal example of this is in the Liverpool game. It was about time.
Klopp was angry with Lovren for getting tangled up with Marouane Fellaini as Liverpool chased an equaliser and Mourinho, who was sent to the stands for stepping out of his technical area back in September, praised the officials for their sensible approach.
Bring on the Spaniards by the score, por favor.