Both Souness and Neville have questioned Mourinho’s tactical approach in games against the top six and his recent treatment of Paul Pogba.
But neither pundit can exactly point to their own managerial career as an example of how the Portuguese could improve: Souness finished sixth in the table with Liverpool twice in three seasons while Neville only lasted a few months as manager of Valencia.
And Mourinho, speaking at a press conference ahead of the clash with Liverpool, was quick to point out the irony of the pair telling him where he was going wrong as manager.
“Some of the guys with an opinion couldn’t resolve their own problems when they were managers, so they are giving opinions like they have, solutions for everything but it is not like that but they are in a position where they can give opinions about everything,” he said.
“Sometimes I read, sometimes I don’t, sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t; this week I was more focused on enjoying Champions League and Europa League and preparing my match than to be focused on opinions. But of course everyone has opinion.”
If only successful managers and players had the right to speak about how the beautiful game should be played, then I, first of all, would be out of a job and football simply wouldn’t be the worldwide institution that it is today.
Mourinho has been part of the furniture of English football for too long to avoid the fate of every man and his dog pontificating upon his ethos, his style, his teams. He knows as well as anyone that his persona will always attract attention.
And the very fact that he has won major trophies, both domestic and continental, in four different countries is what incentivises pundits to cast their opinion on him in such ruthless fashion. Success always breeds attention of some sort, after all.