Roy Keane has slammed Manchester United for their first-half display against Manchester City, suggesting they are not up to the challenge.
The Red Devils went to the Etihad riding a four-game winning streak. That turnaround in fortune had seen Erik ten Hag’s charges move up to sixth in the standings. But they conceded four goals in the first 45 minutes as Pep Guardiola’s men ran riot.
Phil Foden opened the scoring in the eighth minute before Erling Haaland bagged twice in the space of three minutes. Foden added his second a minute before the interval to leave the travelling fans shell-shocked in the stands.
The only question remaining in the second half was how many the home side might score. And Sky Sports pundit Keane made it clear that he felt it was like men against boys.
“It’s like the game is too big for them,” he said. “I almost can’t believe what I’m watching.
“There’s maybe a lack of belief. We gave them some plaudits before the match and there were question marks about the players Man City were missing.
“But with the quality City have shown, it’s been easy for them.”
City began the match four points adrift of table-topping Arsenal but look set to close that gap to just one point. For United, it will be a case of licking their wounds and trying to bounce back next time out.
Keane takes aim at United midfield
The arrival of Christian Eriksen and others seemed to have breathed life into the Manchester United midfield. It has been suggested that Scott McTominay is now a different player after the signing of Casemiro and Anthony.
But both the Scot and his Danish colleague were overrun during City’s first-half blitz on home soil. And the way they floundered in the centre of the park did not escape Keane’s ire.
“And as poor as they’ve been defensively their passing’s been sloppy, there’s gaps everywhere,” he added. “The two lads in the middle – McTominay and Eriksen – are getting pulled everywhere.”
Ten Hag has been roundly praised for the way he pulled the side together after watching them lose their opening two games of the campaign.
Leaving Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench has been a huge call. And the sight of the Portugal skipper on the sidelines with his head in his hands will not make great viewing for United fans.