Graeme Souness thinks Jose Mourinho is “handing an excuse” to his Manchester United players by claiming they are fatigued from a heavy schedule.
The Portuguese boss has complained on a number of occasions about the fixture pile-up and injuries due to competing in the Europa League as well as the Premier League.
His side will have played 64 matches this season once the Europa League final is done but Souness has no sympathy for Mourinho or his United players.
“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?”
Souness was speaking after witnessing the Red Devils’ poor 0-0 draw on the road at Southampton and the former Scotland international believes Mourinho’s players should “deal” with any tiredness.
“Was that a difficult game of football tonight?” Souness asked. “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.”