Inter Milan football coach Jose Mourinho has been criticized by an Italian Muslim leader for suggesting religious fasting marred a player's performance.

Intermidfielder Sulley Muntari was substituted in the first half of his team's 1-1 Serie A draw with Bari on Sunday.

Former Chelsea boss Mourinho said the Ghanaian was possibly lacking energy because of the fast he is observing for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Millions around the world are abstaining from eating or drinking in daylight hours during the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.

"I think Mourinho could talk a little less," Mohamed Nour Dachan, president of the Union of the Islamic community and organizations in Italy, told Sky television.

"A practicing (Muslim) player is not weakened because we know from the Institute of Sports Medicine that mental and psychological stability can give a sportsman an extra edge on the field.

"A player who believes in Christianity, Judaism or Islam will definitely have a very calm psychological disposition and it will help him more."

Speaking after the match, Mourinho had said: "Muntari had some problems related to Ramadan, perhaps with this heat it's not good for him to be doing this (fasting)."

He even suggested the player would be dropped for this weekend's crucial Milan derby due to the timing of the match.

Siena striker Abdelkader Ghezzal, who scored in his team's 2-1 defeat at home to AC Milan at the weekend, revealed he simply cannot fast and play at the same time.

"I observe the fast during my days off, when there are no games or training," the Algerian said. "I've always observed Ramadan but I have had to change my habits for health reasons from the first year that I became a professional."

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