Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane blasted the Red Devils’ underwhelming showing in Sunday’s 3-1 FA Cup victory over Fulham.
Erik ten Hag’s men came from a goal down to thump a nine-man Cottagers in a tense quarter-final tie, but their overall performance flattered to deceive.
Marco Silva’s men dominated early proceedings and got a well-deserved deadlock-breaker in the 50th minute through talismanic striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.
However, the encounter descended into madness midway through the second half, with Willian and Mitrovic picking up straight red cards in the space of 90 seconds.
Incensed by the calamity on the pitch, manager Silva joined the Serbia international in confronting and remonstrating referee Chris Kavanagh, which earned him an expulsion as well.
An unbelievable 90-second sequence turned the contest on its head, with Man Utd taking full advantage of ‘Fulham’s self-destruction’ to score three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes and qualify for the semi-finals.
Despite winning the game by a two-goal margin, Man Utd left their former skipper unimpressed, as Keane refused to hide his frustration over the Red Devils’ below-par showing in the aftermath.
“The manager will still be hugely disappointed – Man United were so poor it was almost unbelievable,” he told ITV.
“They’ve found a way in the previous [FA Cup] games. Today was just self-destruction from Fulham.
“You need a bit of luck and they’ve certainly had their fair share this season.”
Keane has a point
Keane was not far from the truth regarding Man Utd’s performance at Old Trafford, but their form wobble stretches beyond Sunday’s fixture.
The Red Devils have experienced a noticeable dip in form since halting a six-year title drought in February by dispatching Newcastle United 2-0 in the Carabao Cup final.
Instead of building momentum on a long-awaited domestic success, they have seemingly let complacency get the better of them lately.
A 3-1 win over West Ham United in the previous round looked smooth on paper. But in truth, United only profited from the Hammers’ defensive sloppiness in that game, as pointed out by Keane.
The infamous 7-0 thrashing at the hands of bitter rivals Liverpool rubbed salt into the wounds of a missed opportunity to build a case in the Premier League title race.
It’s somewhat paradoxical that despite winning more competitive games than any other team in Europe’s top-five leagues this season, Ten Hag’s charges are miles off the Premier League title pace.
They have strolled to a 5-1 aggregate win over Real Betis in the Europa League last-16 but slumped to a hugely disappointing 0-0 home draw against Premier League basement boys Southampton last time out.
With the international break on the horizon and mouth-watering Europa League quarter-final tie against serial winners Sevilla waiting in the wings, improvement is necessary if United are to land another piece of silverware this term.
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