Roy Keane has lambasted the ‘cry babies’ currently plying their trade at Manchester United and wished boss Jose Mourinho luck in dealing with his temperamental stars.
The under-fire manager must contend with a split dressing room at Old Trafford, having been at odds with key players such as Paul Pogba and captain Antonio Valencia amid growing tension in recent weeks.
Pogba was stripped of the vice-captaincy by Mourinho before the pair endured a very public training-ground spat following United’s defeat by Derby in the Carabao Cup last week.
Sportsmail also this week reported that Mourinho is barely on speaking terms with Valencia after he failed to attend the Derby loss. And the manager will likely have been unimpressed after the United skipper on Wednesday was forced to apologise for liking an Instagram post which called for him to be sacked.
And Keane has weighed in on the issues which have culminated to create the most turbulent period of Mourinho’s tenure at Old Trafford, urging United’s stars to do their talking on the pitch.
‘We talk about footballers and managers, not every player is going to get on with the manager, the manager is not going to like every player,’ Keane told Notts TV.
‘But what you do as a footballer, and whatever disagreements I’ve had with one or two managers, when you cross that line, you play for your team.
‘I don’t care what fallout you’ve had with your manager, I don’t care if you’ve been at each other’s throats, because that is part of the industry, people do fall out.
‘It happens in other industries, but unfortunately when you’re Man United – one of the biggest clubs in the world – things will get exaggerated.
‘But if you’re a footballer for Manchester United and you put that jersey on and you walk out and you don’t give 100 per cent because you might be upset with somebody, then, no, good luck to Mourinho.’
The former United captain claimed the rant was not necessarily aimed at Pogba, but at any petulant player who cannot separate off-field issues from their performances on the field.
‘Players who get upset with a manager, or coaching staff, and think “I’m not going to train properly because somebody upset me” – there’s a lot of cry babies out there, lots of cry babies,’ he added.
‘When you walk out on that pitch, you’re playing for your pride, you’re playing for your family, you’re playing for your city, whatever it may be. Don’t get that worried about what the manager said about you or the coaching staff. You get out there and play.
‘You can fall out after the match, but when the game’s going on, liven up, play with pride, play with energy, play with spirit. Hopefully play with a bit of skill, but you can’t always play with skill, you can have a bad day, but on your bad days you roll up your sleeves and you fight for that jersey and don’t get distracted by the balloons out there.’
Watch: Part of former #NFFC and #MUFC Roy Keane’s honest assessment when we asked him about the state of Manchster United right now. All that and more on your screens on Team Talk TONIGHT at 8pm! Sponsored by @KLGGlazing pic.twitter.com/a8iKprYvdz
An insidious atmosphere is ever-growing at United, manifesting in supporters booing following the final whistle of their goalless draw with Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
And United’s somewhat abject league form has seen them earn just 10 points from their opening seven Premier League fixtures.
They will have an attempt to better that record on Saturday, however, when they host lowly Newcastle at Old Trafford.