Jose Mourinho is “handing an excuse” to his Manchester United players “to not play well” by continually claiming they are tired, says Graeme Souness.
Souness is the latest figure to play down Mourinho’s claims about a heavy schedule after Ajax boss Peter Bosz yesterday said he had no right to moan because he had such a big squad.
United played their 62nd match of the season last night as a much-changed line-up drew 0-0 at Southampton and by the time they play Ajax on May 24 in the Europa League final they will have had a 64-match season.
Souness though has no sympathy for the Portuguese boss and says success has always brought a heavy schedule.
“We’ve all done it, we’ve all been there,” Souness told Sky Sports. “It’s the price on the ticket if you’re winning trophies. If you get to the later stages of European cups… you have to deal with [lots of games]. It’s nothing new in football.
“Big players have to say to themselves ‘I’m not tired.’ I mean it, I never ever felt tired. I think what happened if I did feel tired, it would be maybe we’d lost a couple of games and you started to feel sorry for yourself, and that would last a nano-minute.
“The more success we had, I couldn’t wait for the next game to come along. The last thing I would want is a manager continuously telling me I’m tired. You’re handing an excuse to your players to not play well.
“I talk from experience. People say the game has changed, but has it changed that much?
“Was that a difficult game of football tonight?” Souness asked on Sky after last night’s goalless draw. “No it wasn’t. Was it a tough game against Tottenham at the weekend? It wasn’t a terribly demanding physical game where they were getting knocks.
“Was it a physically demanding game against Arsenal the week before when you’re sitting in there, not chasing the game? I don’t see it. You deal with it and you get on with it. This is not a new problem.”