STOKE manager Tony Pulis and Hull boss Phil Brown joined forces yesterday to condemn Arsenal chief Arsene Wenger’s comments about weakened sides and fixture congestion.
The Gunners boss was furious Wolves manager Mick McCarthy fielded a second-string team in the 3-0 defeat at Manchester United on Tuesday night.
And after a 1-1 draw at Burnley 24 hours later, he railed against the Premier League fixture schedule which meant his side would play three matches in a week whereas tomorrow’s opponents Hull had no midweek involvement.
Pulis, however, believes that although Wenger is arguing the case for his club, the Frenchman should just get on with the job and not “moan like a drain” about fixture congestion.
“Wenger is moaning like a drain because it doesn’t suit Arsenal. He ain’t moaning because it doesn’t suit Stoke,” said Pulis. “He is saying it because it doesn’t suit him and that was what Mick has done.
“I don’t think it was the walk in the park (for United) that people are suggesting. The players Mick played, most of them are seasoned professionals – he hasn’t played the youth team – who he has spent decent money on.
“There is one important point here and that is that Mick McCarthy will do whatever he thinks is best for Wolves.”
On Wenger’s suggestion Arsenal had to play too matches, Pulis added: “No disrespect to Wenger or any foreign manager but I don’t think there is anything wrong with asking professional athletes to perform twice in three or four days.’’
Like Pulis Hull boss Brown had little sympathy for Wenger.
Brown said: “I have looked at the size of squads. We are probably trading at around the third or fourth smallest squad in the Premier League.
“Wolves – topical this week – is one of the smallest and Bolton and Birmingham are below us.
“But in the top half some of these teams can boast 50 or 60 players.
“With that in mind I can’t see any problem with two or three games in a week. If you ask any player, I was the same, games are the most important. They are the best way to keep fit. I think players just want to play.”
The Premier League were also unimpressed with Wenger’s remarks.
The Premier League defended the way the fixtures have been arranged, given that the campaign finishes earlier than last season due to the World Cup.
“The Premier League fixture calendar is a complicated process,” a Premier League spokesperson said. “It is as fair as possible to the clubs who all take an active part in the process ahead of the fixtures being announced.
“This Barclays Premier League season has been a particularly difficult one to schedule given an increased amount of Champions League and Europa League dates from UEFA, and a truncated season because of the FIFA World Cup. That will not be the case next season.”
Other factors for the way fixtures have been compiled include the Champions League last-32 matches being played over four weeks rather than two, while the final of the competition being on a Saturday impacts on the FA Cup final.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved