Shaka Hislop thinks Paul Merson’s criticism of the Manchester United players is “desperately misguided”.
The Red Devils have won back-to-back matches against Cardiff and Huddersfield under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Jose Mourinho was sacked.
And Merson labelled the United players “pathetic” after they beat Cardiff 5-1 in a much-improved performance.
“It is the players and it is a joke,” Merson told Sky Sports. “You watch them on Saturday [against Cardiff], and the difference was pathetic, a joke, embarrassing.
“I would be ashamed. All of a sudden Solskjaer is 100 times better than Jose Mourinho as a manager? Come on, I do not like it.
“The players are all running around now. They are grown-ups and they should have been able to go out and express themselves like at Valencia when they had nothing to play for.”
However, former Premier League goalkeeper Hislop thinks that Merson’s comments were harsh and that the players were suffering from “depression” under Mourinho.
“I think Paul Merson’s comments are desperately misguided,” Hislop told ESPN FC.
“In my opinion, what you’ve seen from the Man United players and understanding what they’re experiencing is football’s – or a footballer’s – equivalent of depression.
“It’s mental, it’s psychological, it’s not a physical issue. It’s not about, ‘Today I’m going to try, tomorrow I’m not’ or vice versa.
“It’s not as simple as that. It’s only when that toxic element is eliminated that you see a response.
“I’ve played for a manager who I didn’t feel appreciated by and this was before the time of sports psychologists but I spoke to friends, people around me, current and former coaches – nothing could get me out of that funk.
“It wasn’t until, in my case I moved clubs, that I again fell in love with the game and started to get the best out of myself.
“Paul Merson, unless he has never played for a manager that he didn’t feel he was a part of things, he cannot understand what they’re going through.”