Graeme Souness and Gary Neville have heated Jose Mourinho debate after Manchester derby


Since returning to Sky Sports following his harrowing managerial experience with Valencia in 2016, Gary Neville has point blank refused to call for the sacking of any manager.

Neville, who spent his entire career playing under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, wouldn’t even concede that it was time for Arsene Wenger to leave Arsenal last season.

If the 43-year-old had his way, Wenger would still be in charge at the Emirates Stadium, while David Moyes would now be approaching the halfway stage of his sixth season as United boss.

Neville was raging when reports emerged last month that United were on the verge of sacking Jose Mourinho.

And the ex-United captain still believes the Portuguese coach, who has won trophies with every club he’s managed during his illustrious career, is the right man for the Red Devils.

On Sunday afternoon following United’s 3-1 defeat against local rivals Manchester City, Neville again found himself defending Mourinho on live TV.

This time, though, he soon became involved in an intense debate with the fiercely argumentative Graeme Souness.

Fire met fire - and things became a little heated inside the Sky Sports studio.

Souness wanted Neville to answer one simple question: is Mourinho getting the best out of the current group of players at United?

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However, Neville - who is widely regarded as the best pundit on TV - couldn’t give his Sky Sports colleague a straight response.

Here's a clip from the heated debate....

Watch the debate in full here (and feel a bit sorry for Pablo Zabaleta)…

Here’s how viewers reacted on social media…

Sky Sports have also published a transcript of the argument in full, just in case you don’t fancy spending five-and-a-half minutes watching the video.

SOUNESS: A simple question. Any manager who goes into a football club is given a group of players. 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. What is it?

NEVILLE: I don't know.

SOUNESS: You don't know? You've watched that game of football today and, as a Man United supporter, you think that is acceptable?


NEVILLE: No, I don't think it's acceptable in any way, shape or form.

SOUNESS: So I come back to the question again, do you feel that he is getting the best out of that group of players?

NEVILLE: Graeme, I'll ask you a question. Who would he have put in midfield today out of the players that he's got that would have improved it?

SOUNESS: No, no, no. We are getting into the specifics. 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: But Graeme, 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.

SOUNESS: Come back to my question. This feels like Question Time! Yes or no, are they getting the best out of that group of players?

NEVILLE: I'll answer it the same again… I don't know. I've seen Louis van Gaal with a lot of these players and I didn't like what I saw with that. He was a coach, somebody who would play passes. 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.

SOUNESS: These players have been top players at other clubs.

NEVILLE: Have they?

SOUNESS: I would think…

NEVILLE: Anthony Martial's not been a top player at another club.


SOUNESS: I think most people would say Alexis Sanchez was. He can perform better. Lukaku is one.

NEVILLE: Lukaku's not been a top player at Everton.

SOUNESS: I think he was showing more at Everton than he is at United.

NEVILLE: He went missing in every big game for Everton.

SOUNESS: I think there is a real player in Martial.


SOUNESS: And I think Rashford is better than what he's showing.

NEVILLE: 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?

SOUNESS: I would ask the midfield players to start playing one and two-touch. You don't want to be a striker in that team.

NEVILLE: Do you think they can play one and two-touch? Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini?

SOUNESS: I'd be demanding it.

NEVILLE: Fellaini can't play one and two-touch in midfield.

SOUNESS: Well I wouldn't play Fellaini.

NEVILLE: 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.


SOUNESS: As long as you think it's acceptable for them to turn up in this stadium today and play like that.

NEVILLE: I don't think it's acceptable, Graeme, for them to lose any game at all. I'm a Manchester United fan and I was built on them playing fantastic football

SOUNESS: That's my point. That's how far you've travelled.

NEVILLE: I didn't like the football under Louis van Gaal either, Graeme. Or under David Moyes.

SOUNESS: In 10 years they have travelled a long way in the wrong direction.

NEVILLE: I know., but is it one man's fault? Is it a manager's fault or is it an issue?

SOUNESS: No, it's a collective thing. Of course it is, but there's no point turning around and saying they've not invested enough money in the team and it's no good saying that group of players can't play better than that because they can.

DAVID JONES: That's a little taster of what life is like here at Sky Sports when the cameras aren't rolling…

Who won the argument: Graeme Souness or Gary Neville? Have your say below.

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