Former Manchester United star Roy Keane says that defeat in the FA Cup will increase the pressure on the team
Speaking on ITV Sport after Manchester United’s defeat to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup (h/t Manchester Evening News), former Red Devils captain Roy Keane said that the loss against the Championship side would increase the pressure on United in their next few fixtures this month.
United were knocked out of the FA Cup in dramatic fashion, losing on penalties to Middlesbrough after a frustrating 120 minutes of action where the Manchester club spurned several chances to progress to the next round. To add to this, they also missed a penalty in the first half, which would likely have put the tie to rest.
Keane said that the defeat to a side that played in a division below them would put the team in a bad mood, and was critical of their performance which saw the team eventually lose after taking the lead in the first half.
“You have to be critical of Manchester United. [In the] first half, they were fantastic, but they are playing a Championship team at home in the cup. Obviously, it’s not good enough. Defeat changes the mood. It changes the mood in the ground as well.”
The result saw United crash out of the FA Cup in the fourth round, with yet another chance of winning silverware slipping through their grasps. It rounds off a difficult season where United have already seen a manager sacked, and face concerns of struggling to find consistency in their wins. The team could very well miss out on a top-four finish if performances like these continue in the league as well.
United looked to be comfortably heading through to the fifth round of the domestic competition until a controversial second-half goal saw their lead cut, and then endured a frustrating period of play where they could not break down a resolute Boro defence. After 120 minutes of action, the club saw themselves crash out of the FA Cup on penalties.
The Red Devils were favourites heading into the tie, and Keane believed that this loss would pile on the pressure on United to win in their next few games, as they look to solidify their position in the Premier League table and finish the season strongly.
“The fans would have been thinking they would win tonight [Friday] and, being at home, I fully expected them to beat a Championship team. But now, it just adds more and more pressure to the upcoming games.”
The FA Cup presented interim boss Ralf Rangnick to make his mark on this United side and win some silverware, breaking a trophy drought at Old Trafford that stretches back to 2017. The Red Devils are already out of the Carabao Cup, and winning the Champions League looks like a distant dream if the team continues to perform at this level.
The next game that the team have is midweek against Burnley in a league fixture, and Keane is right to say that there is added pressure on United to win. Fans have huge expectations from this side, and the best way to put this loss behind is to bounce back against Burnley with a convincing win.
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Only time will tell if Rangnick will be appointed as permanent manager in the summer, but performances like the one against Middlesbrough will not help his case at all. His current priority will be to help the squad secure a Champions League qualification spot and finish the campaign strongly.
We can hope that the players had an off day on Friday, and get back to their best against the Clarets in our next game. The Red Devils are in a strong position to finish in the top four, and every league from now on would hold immense importance in that regard- no matter what the level of the opposition is.