Manchester United legend Roy Keane digs in over rift
Corkman says mending relationship with former boss not high on his agenda
Roy Keane admits he is unlikely to repair his broken relationship with Alex Ferguson unless he bumps into the Manchester United manager while "walking his dog".
Former United captain Keane revealed earlier this season that a rift has developed between him and Ferguson since United sent a letter threatening legal action following a newspaper interview in 2008.
The pair have since exchanged verbal hostilities, with Ferguson angered by Keane's criticism of United's young players in the wake of the Champions League exit at the hands of Basel last December.
But despite agreeing to return to Old Trafford for a charity game later this month, and also to play in a veterans' friendly against Real Madrid in June, Keane admits he cannot foresee a time when he and Ferguson enjoy a healthy relationship again.
"I wouldn't have thought so, no," Keane said. "He's a busy man and I'm fairly busy.
"No, (I haven't spoken to him recently), unless he goes out walking his dog on a Saturday afternoon. But I've not bumped into lots of people in football."
Ferguson hit back at Keane by dismissing his managerial record following the Corkman's criticism of defenders Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and winger Ashley Young after the Basel defeat.
But while Keane accepts Ferguson's right to respond, he insists he stands by his own remarks.
"To be honest, I don't think it was criticism," Keane said. "I just thought the young players needed to buck up their ideas. The boy Jones was speaking before the game saying, 'I've nothing to prove,' but my attitude was, every time you walk out on a football pitch, you've something to prove."
"But I also understood where he (Ferguson) was coming from. He got asked the question and it was only natural he was going to come out and have a dig back because he's going to defend his young players and he's going to be upset after a defeat.
"But when there's snide comments coming in, I had a little dig back. That's the end of that now, but you have to defend yourself as well when people are being critical of my managerial record or whatever.
"I said at the time that without players like myself and other ex-players I bump into -- I was with Nicky Butt the other day -- and those type of lads helped him get the record he's got. People should remember that."
Treble-winning captain Keane, who admitted his surprise at Paul Scholes' decision to come out of retirement, claims finishing second to Manchester City in the Premier League could work in United's favour by forcing them into a summer spending spree.
"Maybe if they lose the league it won't be a bad thing." Keane said. "They may say 'listen, we may have to reinvest again.' They said that last year when they lost to Barcelona and they went out and spent £50m on (David) de Gea, Jones and Young and these are all good players.
"But sometimes you need that big hitter to come in. I have only seen United live four or five times this year -- City the other night, in Basel and in Benfica and I have not seen them win yet. They lost at Liverpool in the FA Cup as well. You always remember the great sign of United that I played for and watched was that they won a lot of big games.
"They just seem to be on the losing side of these tight games at the moment. The other night (against City), you were waiting for them to have a late onslaught. It never came." Keane added: "People say Scholes has done well since he has come back, but I always judge a player on how he does in the big games. Scholesy has done relatively well. If you remember the Champions League final last year, he came on for the last 10 or 15 minutes and that must have played on his mind -- 'if I can't get my game in these matches...'
"Whether Scholesy has come back to play against the Sunderlands, the Fulhams and that, I don't know, you'd have to ask him."
Meanwhile, Ferguson has dismissed claims by City manager Roberto Mancini that United remain favourites for the title because they have 'easier' games left to play.
"Who do you think the favourites are?" Ferguson said. "They (City) have got two games left. If they win the two games, they've won the league.
"We can only do what we can do and hopefully win our game (against Swansea) on Sunday.
"The only advantage we have got is that they (City) are playing first on Sunday. By the time we face Swansea, we will know exactly what we need to do." When asked whether the title race will be over if City win at Newcastle on Sunday, Ferguson added: "Yes. Yes, it looks like it. But they have got to win at Newcastle and that's the challenge for them.
"Newcastle, as we know, is a very difficult place to go to and they're playing well." (© Daily Telegraph, London)