Manchester United’s stuttering form this season continued at the weekend with Newcastle United comfortably seeing off Erik ten Hag’s men 0-1 at St James’ Park.
The result had a lot to do with the limp performance put up by United, who were fortunate not to lose by a heavier score line.
United’s away form against the big teams under Ten Hag is nothing short of woeful and something that needs rectifying quickly if the manager is to keep his job.
As reported by The Sun, former captain Roy Keane blasted United’s record against the top nine sides in which Ten Hag has managed just one point from 12 games.
The wretched run includes hammerings at Liverpool, Manchester City and Brentford, with the solitary point coming against Tottenham Hotspur last season.
Speaking on Sky Sports Super Sunday, Keane winced at the graphic before labelling it “ugly” and asking “is that real?”
United have shipped 34 goals in these 12 fixtures and Keane feels Ten Hag will now be feeling the heat at Old Trafford.
“It’s just the amount of goals, we were discussing earlier, six at City, seven at Liverpool, four at Brentford. It’s not good. They’re obviously in a tough place. The manager is under pressure again,” he said.
As reported by The Manchester Evening News, the United legend then accused the side of “drifting” and questioned not only their desire and commitment to the cause but their talent as well.
“There were players playing last night for United and you thought they would have been leaving the club in the summer. They’re not as talented as they think they are. Their body language, I don’t see it. It’s not good reading at the moment,” said Keane.
Marcus Rashford endured a particularly poor afternoon at Newcastle and Keane was quick to remind United’s top scorer last season of his responsibilities on the field.
“(Rashford) is a local lad, he’s got the mega deal and that is all well and good. I need a bit more, you run forward no problem but you have to run back. Cover yards.
“He’s 26 now, he’s not a child anymore. He’s got to set the example. He’s got to lead by example, is he on his own? Absolutely not. He’s one of the experienced players in that dressing room and if he’s not setting the example, not good,” said Keane.
Anthony Martial was another the United legend had strong words for before delivering his damming assessment of the team’s top four hopes.
“We still look at Martial and celebrate when he scores a goal every 14 years. You judge Man United on what they do in the big matches. If you can’t deal with that, maybe you’re not a Man United player. No (top four) I don’t see it,” Keane added.
Despite the patchy form, United are still in the hunt for the coveted Champions League places but do face a tricky set of festive fixtures which will no doubt shape their season and potentially Erik ten Hag’s future at the club.