Wednesday 23 October 2019

Keane insists Pogba is ‘letting manager down’ in withering Sky attack

Roy Keane looks on from a box in the stands during the Liverpool and Manchester United game at Anfield. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Roy Keane looks on from a box in the stands during the Liverpool and Manchester United game at Anfield. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Roy Keane launched a withering attack on Paul Pogba's attitude at Manchester United, accusing him of letting down manager Jose Mourinho, as he made his debut as a Sky Sports pundit yesterday.

Pogba was left kicking his heels on the substitutes bench - as United lost at Anfield to fall 19 points behind their arch rivals - after falling out with Mourinho.

The French World Cup winner has been a vocal critic of Mourinho's approach in certain games, but Keane believes his successor in the heart of United's midfield should look at himself before questioning his manager.

"Whatever is going on in his head he is letting the manager down," Keane told Sky Sports.

"We don't see what Pogba's like on the training pitch or travelling to games, but if he's not pulling his weight he needs to be left out and the manager needs 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.

"People say Mourinho does not do enough to bring players on side, but he has given him the captaincy - a nice touch - and Pogba has thrown it back in his face."

Keane did not spare the rest of United's squad either, saying that too many of them have refused to take responsibility for results this season.

"People say that Mourinho has to get the players onside, but you're talking about a lot of internationals here," he added.

"If you're out on that pitch and you're not looking after the ball, or you're sloppy in possession - that comes down to the player. Your own pride has to kick in, no matter who the manager is.

"Every game is big for Mourinho at the moment - they're at the crossroads every week. And, if you're unsure about which team is going to turn up, then in terms of the bigger picture, you're in trouble.

"Mourinho will want to look at his players and know they are all going to fight their corner, run, close people down and roll their sleeves up.

"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."

Jesse Lingard's decision to launch his own clothing range - JLingz - before United's trip to Liverpool also drew criticism from Keane.

"If there was a strong dressing room, that would not be tolerated," Keane insisted.

"That's why I worry about the United dressing room. That wouldn't be tolerated in a good dressing room.

"For a young player who is still learning his trade, if you're coming up with all that nonsense.

"People say you should have other stuff outside of football - I don't think you should.

"Football should be your number one priority. Focus on your game. Don't hide behind your cars and your tattoos, your girlfriends or your agents. You can do all that after you retire."

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.

"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.

Outstanding

"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 to play in front of David de Gea.

"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."

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Ireland fall short again, 2019 slump and what Andy Farrell must do as head coach

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport