Saturday 16 December 2017

Roy Keane pokes fun at Arsenal as he backs Jose Mourinho's plan to rest his Man United stars

Roy Keane rejects the notion that Manchester United will have had a successful season if they finish with the League Cup and Europa League trophies
Roy Keane rejects the notion that Manchester United will have had a successful season if they finish with the League Cup and Europa League trophies
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Roy Keane believes Manchester United will beat Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, even if boss Jose Mourinho fields a weakened team.

Mourinho has hinted that he may rest some of his star names for the Premier League clash against Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, as he looks to give his team the best chance of beating Celta Vigo in their Europa League semi-final.

The Arsenal game falls in between the two legs of their clash against their Spanish rivals, with Mourinho hinting he may be ready to step away from the push for a top four finish in the Premier League after draws against Manchester City and Swansea in the last week.

United have suffered with a glut of injuries to star names after a hectic run of fixtures in April, with Mourinho suggesting the moment has come to focus on success in Europe’s second string competition that offers a route into next season’s Champions League for the winners.

“I know that it is the only competition that Manchester United as a club have never won and it would be great to close the circle and say, ‘We are a club that won every single competition in the football world’,” stated Mourinho.

“Thinking about us as a team, I think it would be a good achievement with so many problems we have and would allow us to be back to Champions League next season.

“So we have to try, that’s what we are going to do, and honestly the Europa League for us now becomes more important.

“Of course it depends on the result, it depends on the way we analyse the situation tomorrow after the match, but if we have to rest players next weekend, we are going to do that.”

Keane has been outspoken in his criticism of Mourinho’s gripes over United’s hectic fixture list, but he believes he is right to focus on the Europa League as he offered this damning verdict on Arsenal.

“With the injuries they have and they’ve dropped points against Swansea and Man City in the last week, it’s clear from his interview there that his priority is to win the Europa League. I think he is right," Keane told ITV Sport.

“He won’t forget against the top four, but he has prioritised (the Europa League) and he wants to win a trophy that guarantees him Champions League football.

“Even a weak team will probably beat Arsenal.”

United and Arsenal battling it out for fourth place in the Premier League, as they attempt to claim the last Champions league qualifying place up for grabs.

Yet Keane made it clear earlier this week that a top four finish is not an achievement top clubs should be targeting.

"When I see clubs like Liverpool and Man United celebrating getting into the top four, I cringe at it, I really do," Keane said.

"Any of these big clubs - do you think that Real Madrid and Barcelona would be celebrating getting fourth? Come on, get a grip.

"It is about getting your hands on a trophy. People talk about getting into the top four because of the financial rewards and it was great for teams like Leicester to qualify but for the big teams, Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal, celebrating fourth? I say shame on you."

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