ALEX FERGUSON COULDN’T hide his disappointment as Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League with a 2-1 defeat away to Basel.
The United boss took a swipe at former skipper Roy Keane in his post-match comments, calling the pundit’s management credentials into question after he criticised some of the club’s young stars.
Goals from Marco Streller and Alexander Frei sent Basel through at United’s expense and Keane, working for ITV, said that inexperienced players such as 19-year-old Phil Jones and Chris Smalling still have a lot to learn.
“People have talked about the young players — you’ve had Jones, Smalling, Young coming in, everybody building them up — but they’ve got a lot to do, it’s a reality check for some,” Keane said.
But Ferguson bit back in a tense post-match press conference, leaping to the defence of his rising stars by pointing to Keane’s own record as manager of Sunderland and Ipswich.
“I don’t know why you are bringing this up from a television critic,” said Ferguson (see Sky Sports). “Roy had an opportunity to prove himself as a manager and it’s a hard job.”
“We have enough good young players to see us through. I have every confidence in them. That is part of football. You have to deal with disappointment.
It has been used as motivation at this club many times before. These young players will have to cope with it and get on with it in their careers.