Former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane pulled no punches with his assessment of Fulham after their moment of madness in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Old Trafford.
Keane says Fulham’s meltdown makes it hard to praise Marco Silva’s side, even though the they were the better side for the first 75-minutes of the match.
Fulham opened the scoring through Alexandra Mitrovic’s second-half header. The one-goal lead was cancelled out after Willian used his hand to deny Jadon Sancho’s effort on goal. The Brazilian was sent off and Bruno Fernandes converted the penalty.
However, things got worse for Fulham when Aleksander Mitrovic and manager Marco Silva were also sent their marching orders for protesting the decision. Things got out of hand when Mitrovic put his hand on the referee, but that didn’t stop Silva complaining about the officiating after the match.
Marcel Sabitzer put United ahead minutes later and Fernandes completed his brace before the end to book United’s place in the FA Cup semi-finals.
Anyhow, it would be safe to say Keane had no sympathy for Fulham at full-time because they only have themselves to blame.
Speaking to ITV (via Manchester Evening News), Keane said: “It was self-destruction there really with the incident, particularly for the penalty, and then the reaction from the manager and the players.
“Obviously it’s an emotional game, we’ve all been there, but it’s a mad 90 seconds that’s cost them the game. It’s not necessarily about United winning the game, it’s about Fulham finding a way to lose. I have no sympathy for Fulham. They can get one or two plaudits, they won’t be getting any of them from me. They had an opportunity and they blew it.
“The whole dynamic of the game changed, the energy in the stadium, the supporters. Obviously it was game over. Literally impossible for certain teams (to play with nine men), Fulham tried to sit back and United – we were frustrated with United not trying to get more goals – but it was a case of the last kick of the game to confirm the game was dead and buried. United were just toying with them in the last 10 or 15 minutes.”
Furthermore, Keane didn’t see any reasons for United fans to get carried away after reaching the next round of the FA Cup. The Irishman felt the 3-1 win over nine-men Fulham papered over some emerging cracks in Ten Hag’s side.
Keane feels that recent performances have been below bar but the players are beginning to look very tired. I’m between two minds about whether the upcoming international break is a good thing or not. It won’t be if any of our players return from international duty with injuries or niggles.
“I have lost that little bit of confidence watching them,” Keane added. ”A month or two ago you thought ‘yeah they are up for it’ but the last few games I have seen they have a real habit – and I think it is okay to play in moments every now and again – but that seems to be their DNA.
“They have got into some real bad habits and they turned up today thinking ‘we have quality players and we are going to win football matches.’ If they turn up with that attitude for the semi-final, Brighton will beat them. It could give United a kick up the backside.”
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