ROY Keane knows that what lies in front of him as he heads into 2008 is one heck of a challenge.
We knew that Sunderland shouldn’t have been much of a challenge for United today but whenever us fans think it will be a walk in the park, it’s usually when we get tripped up. On the evidence of Boxing Day we need not have worried. We did not over run Sunderland, we didn’t run through the gears, we simply didn’t get the test. We didn’t need to dominate them, we looked at times as if we were not trying too hard to score all those goals, it just happened and occurred with less than half the effort than we would have expected to give against a team managed by Roy Keane.
As a result I found myself thinking that it was job done, both for us and our title hopes and for his team and their chances of staying in the top league also. I’ve never wanted to show mercy in football, the points are their and we’ll kill any bar stewards that get in our way, we are the Pride of all Europe…However, I would have gladly given them only a 45 minute game on Boxing day because Sunderland were just poor and Roy Keane didn’t deserve the feeling he must have had watching them try and keep up with Ronaldo and our boys. When we played Sunderland at Old Trafford earlier this season they actually tried to play. At times they kicked us all over the park but they were really up for it, on Boxing day we played a team that seemed to have already accepted its fate of playing in the fizzy league next season.Keano doesn’t deserve that and it’s going to be hard watching him being connected to that team if it happens but he would have known that there was a chance of relegation in their first season back.
Before you think that we are showing a little too much peace and love to our former midfielder in the spirit of the season, I will point out that some of the players he famously ranted about during his last few weeks with Manchester United, were on the winning side on Boxing day. I’m not the biggest fan of Darren Fletcher but he did well, and Rio Ferdinand isn’t everyone’s cup of tea either but he could have had a cigar on the go during this game for all that they challenged.
“The younger players have been let down by some of the more experienced players. They are just not leading. There is a shortage of characters in this team.”
That was part of Roy’s rant against his below par Manchester United team mates, for MUTV, although I swear the same could be said for Sunderland at this point in time. He cannot work miracles and he isn’t working alongside the same quality of players he was with at Old Trafford, by the looks of it his players are not even up to the ‘lower quality’ United players he watched in his last few months with us.
His rant, as ill advised as it was, was spot on at the time, right on the money and it provided a spark of reaction that may be something to do with where we are now. Maybe what Roy Keane needs is Dwight Yorke to turn up on Sunderland Tonight and blast his team mates the same way – in my opinion all of them besides Michael Chopra would deserve it.
The red’s go marching on, while Boxing Day showed that we may have extinguished what little fight there was left in the Sunderland dog, although I hope not.