Roy Keane hails Erik ten Hag for bringing the ‘feel-good factor’ back to Manchester United after reaching Carabao Cup final – and says the club have benefitted from moving on ‘ENERGY-SAPPERS’ like Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba
- Roy Keane has praised Erik ten Hag for the job he has done so far at Man United
- Keane says too many players were sapping energy out of the club last season
- United booked their place in the Carabao Cup Final where they’ll play Newcastle
Roy Keane has labelled the players Manchester United have let leave the club as ‘energy-sappers’ and hailed Erik ten Hag for bringing back the feel-good factor at Old Trafford.
Ten Hag will have the chance to win a trophy in his first season at Old Trafford after United secured their place in the Carabao Cup final by beating Nottingham Forest 2-0 on the night and 5-0 over the two legs.
The Dutchman’s reign had a troubled start and he’s had to deal with the Cristiano Ronaldo saga, but there now seems to be renewed vigour at the club and among the current crop of players.
Speaking after the victory, former United captain Keane said the positivity has come from a number of high-profile names leaving the club, which has allowed Ten Hag to put his mark on the team, and criticised ‘fringe players’ who did not give enough under interim boss Ralf Rangnick last season.
‘When the manager came in, United were rock bottom and we had to talk about the recruitment, but what I think was key as well was the five or six players that left,’ Keane told Sky Sports.
Roy Keane says Erik ten Hag has brought the feel-good factor back to the club after a poor start
Ten Hag celebrates reaching a Carabao Cup final in his first season in charge at Old Trafford
‘I’m not knocking all these players, Pogba, Mata, Matic, Jesse Lingard, lads who’d been around and knew they were leaving. They knew they’d be leaving and their contracts were up for most of them and I think that wasn’t helping.
‘There definitely feels around the club a new energy, the new manager has put a few markers down after a bad to start to the season, and that momentum and that feel good factor is back at the club. The energy levels are different.’
One name that Keane didn’t initially tag into that group of ex-United stars was Cristiano Ronaldo, who left the club in December following his controversial interview with Piers Morgan and now plays for Al-Nassr.
However, when asked if the Portuguese star was another example of the players Keane was referring to, he wasn’t shy about adding his name to the list.
‘I think that’s helped (Ronaldo’s departure) the manager and the club,’ Keane added.
‘No one wanted that to be hanging over the second half of the season and it should have been dealt with in the summer. That whole Ronaldo situation, he obviously wasn’t going to sit on the bench and be happy with it.
‘They’ve now dealt with it and now it’s now hanging over the club anymore. But also the other five or six lads that left, Cavani another one. Those who were fringe players, coming off the bench, and when they were coming on they weren’t bringing anything because they felt they should have been starting.
‘Those subs and fringe players have to come on and be ready, where as the fringe players last year, you just felt they were energy-sappers.’
Keane says that some of United’s players last season were not good for the morale of the club
Juan Mata and Nemanja Vidic weren’t good enough as fringe players in Keane’s opinion
Pogba returned to Juventus but is yet to make a single appearance for the club following an injury, Lingard moved to Nottingham Forest and has struggled, while Mata is currently in Turkey with Galatasaray.
Only Nemanja Matic, with Jose Mourinho’s Roma, and Edison Cavani – who has managed seven goals for Valencia this season – have enjoyed some success since leaving United.
Second-half goals from substitute Anthony Martial and then Fred – assisted by another sub in Marcus Rashford – saw the Red Devils punch their ticket to Wembley, where they’ll face Newcastle United at the end of the month.
Goals from Anthony Martial and Fred saw off Nottingham Forest on Wednesday evening