Manchester United legend Roy Keane cut a frustrated figure last night following the club’s disappointing 1-1 Premier League draw against Chelsea at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils had gone into the game on the back of successive defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal, and they needed to return to winning ways to keep their slender Champions League hopes alive.
However, the club never looked like beating the Blues. Thomas Tuchel’s side dominated the proceedings throughout the opening half, and could have been a few goals clear if not for David de Gea’s superb keeping.
At the hour mark, they eventually broke the deadlock through Marcos Alonso, but United managed to equalise minutes later. Cristiano Ronaldo bagged his 23rd goal of the campaign and his fifth this month.
Despite salvaging a draw, Keane was fuming after the game. The former captain was left frustrated by Ralf Rangnick, who chose to bring on Juan Mata and Phil Jones over Shola Shoretire and Hannibal Mejbri.
He added to hit out at the contract policy at the club and questioned why Mata was handed a one-year extension last year when he should have been shown the exit door. The Spaniard has barely played this term.
He told Sky Sports: “Tonight we are talking about Matic getting interviewed after the game that he’s leaving there’s three games to go. Stop talking.”
“You’re Man United, you’re fighting for points, you’re playing for pride. But it’s all like, We’ll give him a game, we’ll bring [Phil] Jones on, everyone gets a round of applause.
“You’re there to try and win a game for Manchester United forget all this give someone a game because he’s leaving in a few weeks.
Actually you should have left two years ago yet they are all coming on and getting 20 minutes. Get some of the young lads on.
They’re hopefully going to be there for the future so give them a taste of Old Trafford and playing against really good players.
“Mata is leaving in a couple of weeks, you brought him on last week. Mata’s not going to come on and change the game.
He should have left last year and they gave him another year, I don’t know why. Jobs for the boys. He’s pals with this or that chief executive. Who is giving out these contracts? Crazy.”
There has been much talk of a rebuild under new boss Erik ten Hag. When asked about a potential clear-out, Keane said that the Dutchman should be backed with funds, particularly with several big earners leaving at the expiry of their deals.
He added: “He’s fortunate to be coming in the summer when there are five or six players on big contracts leaving. I think that will help and I think every Man United manager will get backing, he will get some money to spend.”
“But it is about getting the right players, the right characters into the club. What we have seen over the last few months haven’t been good enough from this group of players. We talk about giving everything for the cause, these players don’t do that.”
United have three league matches left in the season. Their Champions League destiny is no longer in their hands with a five-point deficit to fourth-placed Arsenal, who have played two games less.
Despite this, Rangnick will be eyeing a strong end to the campaign. There is room to introduce more young graduates, but the club also need to pick up points to avoid dropping out of Europe next term.
While a season out of Europe won’t be bad either, Ten Hag may ideally want participation in the Europa or Europa Conference League. This could provide him the chance to try some youngsters.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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