9 of Roy Keane’s best rants about Man Utd in 2021-22: ‘Shame on them’

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Roy Keane working as a pundit for ITV Sport.

Despite being a Manchester United legend, Roy Keane has never been afraid to criticise players at his former club. 

Keane doesn’t pull any punches as a pundit and has watched on as United have struggled under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick this season. 

We’ve taken a look at nine of his best moans about his former side during 2021-22.

Southampton

Keane was only in first gear at the start of the season but still wasn’t happy with United’s defending for Southampton’s goal against them.

“Fred and [Harry] Maguire have to do more when someone comes into your area,” Keane said after the game. “Fred, you’ve got to be ready to nail him and he just dangles a leg.

“He’s unlucky with the deflection but he’s got to do more, he’s got to do better than that.”

Wolves

United scored a late winner against Wolves in August 2021 but had produced a poor first-half performance, failing to register a single shot on goal.

“They’re depending on their talent alone, as if they got it to get through the game,” Keane said at half-time. “It’s like they’ve been at a European game in Russia somewhere and they got back late Thursday morning. They just haven’t got going.

“They’re still creating opportunities with the Greenwood chance and we think the keeper gets a touch on that so United are still dangerous.

“But their overall play, their body language, they look lacklustre. The players aren’t doing their jobs, they’re giving the ball away cheaply, there’s no energy to their play, there’s nobody running off the ball, it’s all sort of five-a-side football.

“My only worry, I hope [Cristiano] Ronaldo is not watching because he’ll be pulling out of the deal. Really not good enough.”

Liverpool

While Keane wasn’t on punditry duty for United’s embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Liverpool, he gave his opinion on the players a week later.

“United have so many talented players, particularly going forward, but a lot of their players defensively… Maguire and [Luke] Shaw last week were a disgrace, a disgrace to the club,” Keane told Sky Sports. “And these are established international footballers.

“[Aaron] Wan-Bissaka, I don’t even think Crystal Palace would take him back now. He’s not good enough for Man United. No feel for the ball, decision making.

“Man United over the years have had always had players with character, personalities. I don’t see it with this group.

“I heard Maguire talking during the week, he was like a robot. He was like, ‘Er, apologies to the fans’. There was no emotion behind it. And these guys are on the back of a good European Championships for England. They’ve turned up for big matches. But recently? Shaw has fallen back into his old habits of a few years ago.

“And I’m fed up with this chat after games of people apologising. Harry Maguire talking about ‘We need to come together as a group.’ No, you need to sort your game out.

“If you’re going to be the leader of that group you need to get the basics right and do you your own job. It’s nothing to do with fitness, it’s a lack of professionalism.”

Manchester City (home)

Keane was back in the punditry box for City’s trip to Old Trafford in November and couldn’t hide his frustrations as United suffered a 2-0 defeat.

“These are international footballers! I can’t understand the defending,” Keane said at half-time. “I give up. I’m driving down here today thinking, ‘I wonder, you know Man United will have their chance, they’re at home’.

“They’ve been like this all season, giving up chances, and City got a little bit arrogant and gave them one or two chances, but it’s two at the moment, unless United do something drastic it’ll be another four or five.”

After the game, he was back at it. He said: “It felt worse [than the defeat to Liverpool]. They were happy to keep the ball and toyed with United. So poor. The difference in class, decision making, everything. It was men versus boys. United are so off it it’s unbelievable.

“Phil Foden mentioned it is a tough place to come, it’s not. Ask Everton, ask Aston Villa and Liverpool. Teams have come to Old Trafford and are getting a bit of joy now. I know the away record over the last few years has been fantastic but it’s what you do at home that sets you up to win trophies. United’s home form and performance.

“The goal at half-time killed it. They needed to go in at half-time 1-0 and regroup. United are just so poor. Fred and McTominay aren’t good enough. It was so comfortable for City.

“Foden’s getting interviewed there. The way I look at it after a derby you should be drained you should be exhausted and no energy left. He was chatting there as if he had a training game.”

Watford

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked by United after a 4-1 defeat against Watford in November 2021 and Keane put a lot of the responsibility on the players.

“They are not working as hard as the three teams at the top who are brilliant, have a lot of talent, well-coached and they run; United’s players have stopped running in the last couple of months.

“Marcus Rashford has said that the players have to take responsibility – but these players don’t. We saw a great example after the Watford game, where the players have gone over and tried to defend their manager.

“It was too late; the damage was done.

“I said over the last year or two that leopards don’t change their spots. Man United have talented players, particularly in possession. But, unfortunately, the game is also about when you’re out of possession.

“If you want to compare them to Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City, it is chalk and cheese. These players don’t run, they don’t sprint, they don’t close down, they don’t work as a team and they work as individuals. They’re almost just depending on their talent, which is coming up short as well.

That is not enough to win the big prizes and it is not good enough. We talk about culture, and I don’t know what’s gone on in terms of on the training pitch every single day, but the signs are, again, that this United group does not work hard enough.

“They don’t seem like good enough lads to me, in terms of that leadership and that personality [being missing]. But that is what you need.

“I think sometimes now when the players get interviewed, they are like robots. Over the last week when a lot of the players have been talking about the manager leaving, they keep saying Ole. Ole was their gaffer. Maybe Ole was too friendly with them.

“Maybe that was a problem. Maybe he was too nice to these lads, because these lads have done what I predicted and thrown him under a bus.”

Harry Maguire

After Maguire spoke to United’s official website in January 2022 and said that the players were angry about recent results, Keane didn’t seem too impressed.

“How many times has he said that? I wouldn’t listen too much to what Harry has to say,” he told ITV Sport. “I’ll judge a player on what he does on a football pitch, not what rubbish he comes out with about players sticking together and we need to do more.

“Judge a player on what he does on a football pitch and United aren’t doing enough.”

Aston Villa

United led 2-0 away against Aston Villa in January 2022 but ultimately had to settle for a point after conceding two late goals.

“It just goes to show you their shortcomings,” Keane said. “I always say that the table doesn’t lie, they are seventh now – there is quality, we saw that today – but there is a bit of a weakness, particularly in the second half.

“We look back at the Villa goals and we just see United players falling by the wayside, there was no aggression. The substitutes certainly worked for Villa, not so good for United.”

Middlesbrough

United suffered further embarrassment in February when they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Middlesbrough after losing a penalty shootout.

“Of course, Middlesbrough were going to come with a bit of pressure in the second half, but you control it,” Keane told ITV Sport.

“Even with the goal they conceded, they were outnumbered, players weren’t getting back, and that’s where I go back to it, you need a bit of leadership. The character to go ‘Ok, we have dropped off for 10 or 15 minutes but we are still up against Middlesbrough, we’ll still slip back in and find a moment.’

“But [Bruno] Fernandes’s miss there, he has to score, there is no logic to that miss, he has got to hit the target.”

Manchester City (away)

After conceding the third goal in their 4-1 defeat to City at the Etihad, United’s players looked demoralised and were criticised for their lack of effort.

“I think the worst thing you could say about United is they did give up,” Keane told Sky Sports. “For a player in a derby, or any game, to give up, it’s unforgivable really. The beauty of top-level sport is there is no hiding place. We saw all United’s shortcomings today.

“There’s ways to lose football matches, we’ve all lost football matches, but the way United lost today. They stopped running. They gave up. There’s players out there not running back. That’s what I don’t understand. The manager will be criticised, and the tactics, but players not running back when they are playing for Man United is unacceptable.

“They threw the towel in, which is shameful. I forgive mistakes, but you’ve got to run back. There’s five or six players who should never play for Man United. It’s shameful. A couple of lads in midfield, [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka, Fred, [Marcus] Rashford came on. I could go on. And City weren’t even at their best. They didn’t have to be. They gave up, shame on them!”


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