(Reuters) – Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has called some of the club’s current players “cry babies”, saying they should put aside any differences with under-fire manager Jose Mourinho and improve their own performances.
Mourinho’s man-management has come under scrutiny amid a reported rift with record signing Paul Pogba, while the club have been dismal on the pitch this season, collecting 10 points from seven league matches to sit 10th in the Premier League.
Keane, who won seven league titles with United, said the players had to start taking responsibility for the club’s worst start to a season since 1989-90.
“There’s a lot of cry babies out there. When you walk out on that pitch you’re playing for your pride, you are playing for your family, you’re playing for your city,” Keane was quoted in the Irish Independent as telling Notts TV.
“I’m not talking about Pogba. I’m talking about players in general. Players who get upset with a manager or coaching staff and think ‘I’m not going to train properly because somebody upset me’.”
Ireland assistant manager Keane, who famously fell out with former United boss Alex Ferguson before leaving the club in 2005, said clashes with the club’s authority figures should not influence what a player does on the pitch.
“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. That is part of the industry. People do fall out,” Keane added.
“Don’t get that worried about what the manager’s said about you… you get out there and play. You can follow it up 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. On your bad days you roll your sleeves up and you fight for that jersey. Don’t get distracted by the balloons out there.”
Keane said problems had a tendency of getting blown out of proportion at the 20-times English champions.
“Unfortunately when you’re United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, things will get exaggerated,” he said.
“And if you’re a footballer for United, you put that jersey on, you walk out and you don’t give 100 percent because you might be upset with somebody then good luck to Mourinho.”
United host Newcastle United in the league on Saturday.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby davis)