football

Man Utd: Jury still out on whether Erik ten Hag is taking team in right direction, says Roy Keane

Roy Keane believes the "jury is still out" on Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag after claiming Manchester City "toyed" with his side in the closing stages of Sunday's 3-1 loss at the Etihad Stadium.

The champions were stunned by a brilliant strike from Marcus Rashford after just eight minutes but were otherwise the dominant force in a keenly fought Premier League clash.

Their pressure eventually paid off as Phil Foden levelled with a long-range effort in the 56th minute and then put his side ahead 10 minutes from time. Erling Haaland put the result beyond doubt in stoppage time.

Victory took City one point behind leaders Liverpool ahead of the two sides' eagerly-anticipated meeting at Anfield next weekend. But what next for United following an 11th Premier League defeat of the season?

"I can't be too hard on Manchester United today as City were just brilliant," Keane said on Sky Sports. "They showed why they're champions. That's 11 league losses now for United. That's one scary stat and what City do is they find out all your shortcomings.

"When you're out on that pitch and it's tough, there's no hiding place. It's like in boxing. City wore and wore them down. United had to take Jonny [Evans] off after around 60 minutes. They had to change the back four and they were hanging on anyway.

"It still leaves that question mark over where this United team are going. In the last 25 minutes, they couldn't get anywhere near City, who toyed with them.

"It was men vs boys in the end and they were just hanging in there. Towards the end, you're thinking it could be four or five. There's still question marks of this team and unfortunately of the manager.

"The problem is that this team is still all about moments. When you've invested all that money and the quality they have, you need a bit more than that.

"It's more the games we've seen over the last few months where they've lacked that consistency of performance.

"United have just been digging out results but eventually that catches up with you. The bigger picture is that you need more."

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag told Sky Sports:

"The players gave everything. We had two players on the pitch that were not 100 per cent - Jonny Evans and Marcus Rashford. As a team they gave everything. The performance is very good. Of course, we are disappointed with the score.

"They fought in togetherness, but also the performance is good. On another day we could have won this game. Small margins. It's true. Rashford is through and we can go for a second goal, Garnacho is through and we can go for a second goal, but in both moments we got beaten.

"The plan went well. All the credit to City. The way we defended was good. The plan was a free role for Bruno, and to try to get players behind. Bruno is a very smart player.

Rashford foul before City goal? "It's debatable and there was contact - a defining moment in the game. You know in a full sprint when you get a little touch you lose the rhythm and that's what happened. There was also the reckless action of the goalkeeper of City [on Garnacho], and then from a counter-attack they score.

"We've had one bad performance and that was last week [against Fulham]. From this year on, we've been progressing, we've been getting points back. There are many games to play and everyone can beat everyone. Number five can also be a position for Champions League so, as I say, we have to fight for it."

Manchester City hold a 3-1 aggregate lead for their Champions League second leg with FC Copenhagen on Wednesday (kick-off 8pm). Attention then turns to Liverpool on Sunday for a potentially crucial game in the title race, live on Sky Sports (kick-off 3.45pm).

Manchester United host Everton in the Premier League next Saturday (kick-off 12.30pm).

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