The former United captain believes the club’s disastrous season could work in the new manager’s favor but warned of the “huge gap” with Manchester City and Liverpool
United have been urged to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool for the title after finishing runners-up in 2021/22 and summer signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane but are instead on course to record the lowest in the history of the to reach the Premier League.
Roy Keane believes Erik ten Hag’s prospects of improving Manchester United following his move from Ajax are improved because the current team ‘can’t get any worse’.
The club are currently 28 points behind leaders City and Keane admitted he was “concerned” about how far United have fallen behind their domestic rivals.
“It’s ugly that however you look at it, it’s not good,” former Man Utd midfielder Keane told Sky Sports. monday night soccer, after looking at a statistical breakdown of United’s regression this season.
“We know it’s a long way back for Man United but of course there is a way back. Maybe the new manager comes at a good time because I don’t think it could be any worse.
“I think it’s the overall score that worries me. Even last year when you were thinking about Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] did well to finish the second one…there is such a big gap.
United will undergo a major rebuild during the summer transfer window, with a number of players poised to leave. Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Edinson Cavani are all set to depart at the end of their contracts, with Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba also expected to leave on free transfers. Marcus Rashford is another who could move on after a disappointing season.
However, Keane warned that whichever players arrive or depart, United still have to catch up with City and Liverpool as they too will beef up their squad when the transfer window reopens.
“The big problem for Man United, whatever problems they have, obviously you have to look at where Man City or Liverpool are,” Keane added.
“We’re talking about Man United rebuilding like Liverpool and Man City and these other teams are going to take it easy over the summer. They’ll reinvest, they’ll win players, they’ll get stronger. Klopp stays, Pep stays maybe.
“I think the recruitment will be [important]… he has to get the right players, the right characters and players out the door because the last couple of years just haven’t been good enough. how many times can you say it And the biggest concern for me when they’ve experienced these disappointments is the reaction. There was a real lack of leadership. And I’ll get back to that, whatever the talent, not enough characters in this dressing room.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, meanwhile, believes the magnitude of the task facing Ten Hag is not dissimilar to that faced by Jurgen Klopp when he joined Liverpool in October 2015.
Liverpool finished sixth in 2014/15, 25 points behind then-champions Chelsea and had gotten off to a poor start to the following season under Brendan Rodgers.
“I think it’s very similar, it really is, and I think it was possibly a tougher job for Jurgen Klopp,” Carragher said.
“Because I think the means for any Manchester United manager that we’ve seen in the last 10 years and potentially in the future will be a lot more than what Jurgen Klopp had when he first came on.
“People are talking about how long it should take Ten Hag or any top manager at a top club and there’s talk of Liverpool or Man City being five years old, someone even mentioned 10 years ahead of Manchester United. I think that’s absolute nonsense, I really do and I think a top manager can get a top club back on track within a few years.
“It doesn’t mean winning the title or the Champions League, but they put them back on track where they compete.”
Barring a miraculous collapse at Arsenal and Spurs in the final weeks of the season, United, who are currently sixth after playing two more games, will not play in next season’s Champions League.
And Carragher believes it is paramount that Ten Hag gets the club back in the top four straight away.
“If you look at Klopp’s first season, he came in October and Liverpool finished eighth and in a way it would probably be better for United if they finished eighth this season and there wasn’t European football,” he said.
“In his [Klopp’s] They win the Champions League in their first full season and that’s what Manchester United need to do next season with Ten Hag. He has to get Champions League football, he has to.
“Liverpool, United, all the great clubs, they should be measured against the Premier League and the Champions League, they don’t necessarily have to win but they have to be in it.”