'Don't hide behind your tattoos, cars or girlfriends' - Roy Keane takes aim at Man United stars on punditry return
Roy Keane has admitted Manchester United's defensive woes are undermining their hopes of reviving their flagging season under Jose Mourinho and he has proposed a radical solution to solve the problem.
United have conceded 29 goals in their first 17 Premier League games this season – one more than the amount they conceded for the whole of last season, with their 3-1 defeat against Liverpool on Sunday highlighting their defensive woes once again.
Mourinho's concerted efforts to sign experienced central defenders last summer were rebuffed by Old Trafford decision makers and former United skipper Keane told Sky Sports that the root of the problems in recent months lie in their defensive positions.
"Defensively they look really, really short," stated Keane. "They have really good players but in terms of winning the big prizes they look really, really short.
"It is a struggle for United at the moment, but what happens with these great clubs is they deal with difficult days and they bounce back."
"You talk about Manchester United and Liverpool, you've got to get your hands on trophies, of course," Keane added. "I think the scary thing for me, when you look at where United are at now, I think it's alright finishing second and third when you're competing. You can't win every game or every trophy but they're so far behind in terms of points, goals for, goals against.
"The signs are like it's a long road ahead for United. There's all this chat about Mourinho getting the players on side but I go back to this: I think defensively they look so short. You need a solid back four, an outstanding goalkeeper, you need the foundations to go on and United don't look like they have that."
Keane went on to suggest United need to sign four new defenders as they look to inject solidity into their creaking back four.
"In my time at United, talking what you need to win trophies, we had some great characters," he stated.
"I still can’t figure this United side out. I see United every three weeks they have a good spell and then they look disinterested. I look at the characters, I look at the lack of leaders in the team.
"As a manager, you want to put trust in your players and I don't think Mourinho has much trust in these United players. He definitely doesn't trust his back four and they have to go and purchase four defenders.
"Also at some stage, the players have to take responsibility. We say about Mourinho getting players on side, but at some stage your own pride has to kick in.
"Every game is a big game for Mourinho now. If you are going to lose football matches, you want to see players digging in, but that isn't happening and it doesn't look good.
"We can talk about Mourinho all day and his CV says he knows something about the game, but the players have to take responsibility. They are 25, 26 years of age, play the game, do your jobs.
"Don't look at the manager and say you don't like him or he is getting on your nerves. Wear the shirt, give your best, but they are well short.
"I worry about the United dressing room. People say you should have other stuff outside of football, but I disagree. Football should be No.1. Don't hide behind your tattoos, your cars or your girlfriends. Play the game. You can do all that other stuff when you retire."
Keane also served up a bruising critique of United's record signing Paul Pogba as he added; "He's a talented player but, whatever's going on in his head, he seems to be letting the manager down.
"We don't see what Pogba's like on the training pitch or travelling to games but if Pogba's not pulling his weight, he needs to be left out and the manager need to be brave. If you're playing for a big club and you're not in good form, you roll your sleeves up and become a really good club player."