Friday 20 September 2019

'It's a simple yes or no' - Graeme Souness and Gary Neville fail to find consensus over Jose Mourinho's future

Guardiola and Jose Mourinho embrace after the match. Photo: AFP/Getty
Guardiola and Jose Mourinho embrace after the match. Photo: AFP/Getty
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Gary Neville and Graeme Souness got into a heated on-air discussion following Manchester United's comprehensive 3-1 defeat against Manchester City on Sunday, with the two experienced Sky Sports pundits putting forward strong arguments in the debate over the future of United boss Jose Mourinho.

Former Liverpool manager Souness is convinced Mourinho is failing to get the best out of his players, yet Neville stopped short of placing all the blame for the club's decline on the current manager, as he pointed to deeper problems at the club he won so many trophies with in his illustrious playing career.

"The question that you, as a Manchester United supporter has to ask yourself, is the manager and the coaching staff getting the best out of the group of players at Man United? It's a simple yes or no," Souness stated.

Neville admitted he couldn't come up with an answer to that poser, but Souness didn't stop there, as he suggested Mourinho was overseeing a slow and steady decline in ambitions at United.

"You've watched that game of football (against Man City) and, as a Man United supporter, you think that is acceptable," he asked Neville.

"Simple question: you look at the names that play for Manchester United. Think of Alexis Sanchez for example's sake. Is he playing anything like he was at Arsenal? The answer is no, a big no. Is Marcus Rashford playing like he can? Is Romelu Lukaku? Is Paul Pogba playing like he has performed? The answer is no, he is not getting the best out of that group of players."

Neville's counter-argument was that the players mentioned need to take their share of the blame for United's slide, as he argued they did not perform any better under when Mourinho's predecessors David Moyes and Louis van Gaal were calling the shots at Old Trafford.

"I was watching these players under Louis van Gaal. I saw Anthony Martial and Ander Herrera under Louis van Gaal and they weren't much better," said Neville.

"My view is that at this moment in time, Manchester United don't look like they can win a game proactively.

"They finished second last season, which was the best finish since Sir Alex Ferguson. I'm not defending Jose Mourinho but if you're asking me the question could another manager get more out of them then maybe. But maybe not. I don't know if the players are good enough Graeme, I haven't got a clue.

"If you ask me if Ashley Young is playing the best he could possibly play then yes. Is this the Chris Smalling we've seen for the last few years? Yes.

"Victor Lindelof is playing better than he has ever played. David De Gea is not. It is so confusing when you watch Manchester United. What would you change? If you were going in there as manager tomorrow, what would you change?

"Graeme is saying he has lost faith in Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, well Jose Mourinho has won wherever he has been. He has won 20 titles, the same as Pep Guardiola.

"My point is David Moyes couldn't sort out the group, Louis van Gaal couldn't sort out the group and now Jose Mourinho - the most successful manager of the last 15 years along with Pep Guardiola can't sort out the group. I'm not as quick to sit here and say it's the coaching staff's fault.

"There is a problem structurally at the club that means it will be difficult for any coach to perform. Can he do better? Of course he can, but this guy has won everywhere he's been. I haven't lost faith in him yet. He is going through a difficult moment, but I haven't lost faith in Jose Mourinho as a coach."

Online Editors

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