News ID: 262678
Published: 0301 GMT December 08, 2019

Keane, Neville hail 'proper' Man United performance

Keane, Neville hail 'proper' Man United performance

Anthony Martial (on his knees) celebrates with teammates after scoring Manchester United’s second goal against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain, on December 7, 2019.

Former Manchester United skipper Roy Keane said the club’s 2-1 win over defending Premier League champion Manchester City on Saturday will give the players much-needed confidence to shed the inconsistency that has dogged them all season.

Victory at derby rival City followed a 2-1 win over former boss Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, lifting United to fifth in the table after 16 games and easing pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Reuters reported.

“I absolutely did not see this coming. It was fantastic – a proper United performance. Lots of bravery and personality. They were outstanding,” Keane told Sky Sports.

“I don’t think beating Tottenham was a big deal at home, but that win (over City) will give the players a lot of confidence as they have been criticized – nobody likes to be criticized.

“I really enjoyed watching them, it’s what United is all about. But the key is to be consistent, week in, week out. Hopefully these young players will pick up on that.”

Keane’s ex-United teammate and fellow analyst Gary Neville suggested that the two wins were signs Solskjaer’s project was taking shape and urged the club to back him in the January transfer window to add experience to the squad.

“It gives Ole a bit of breathing space and the confidence he can win big games as shown in the last four days,” Neville said.

“It does give you hope that there is something there that can produce that level of performance.

“But it doesn’t change what United need to do in January. They need to get experience to bolster that squad. They need it desperately. Scott McTominay and Fred have done brilliantly, but they can’t do it every week.”


Masterplan unchanged


Pep Guardiola knew before Saturday’s derby that Manchester United has been better against bigger sides this season.

He also knew how their neighbor would play at the Etihad Stadium: A solid, organized defense with pace on the counterattack, reported.

Yet the City boss steadfastly refused to change his playing style and for the opening 30 minutes it went horribly wrong.

The speed and precision of United’s attacking trio of Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Anthony Martial broke past City time and time again.

Guardiola has been in the position of fielding questions about his tactics, why City’s defense was left exposed to United’s counterattacking threat and why he doesn't sacrifice some of his high-risk philosophy and tighten up at the back.

In Guardiola’s first season, he faced a constant criticism that his attacking strategy would not work in England and that he needed to change. His response was to stick to his plan and it worked with two record-breaking title-winning seasons.

The City boss is again facing questions about his side's openness after nine games without a clean sheet, and the critics will get the same response.

“I like my team, how they played,” Guardiola said after the derby defeat.

“We conceded a little bit more than usual but the last years against United we have conceded a bit.

“We knew the pace they have with James, Martial and Rashford. Sometimes it is not possible to control it because when you lose the ball it is difficult.

“In general we did what we liked. We arrived in the final third many times. Unfortunately we cannot finish a little bit more but I like to watch my team like this.”

Guardiola’s response to Saturday’s defeat will be to do more of the same but to do it better. There will be minor tactical tweaks, as there have been throughout the past three-and-a-half seasons, but his belief in how to get out of their current rut is for his side to play its way back into form.

“If we were only five points behind, 10 points, 14, 20 – we would have to continue,” he explained.

“I said many times in the last weeks we have to continue. If we are not able to, we are going to try next season.”

Guardiola only wants to play one way and he’s not about to change now.




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