Fergie in spat with Keane as awful United crash out

 

Sir Alex Ferguson's raw emotion at his club's first Champions League group-stage exit in six years led him to round on his former captain Roy Keane last night, as Manchester United's hopes of finally eclipsing Barcelona collapsed into the grim prospect of Thursday-night football in the Europa League.

Keane, United's harshest critic when a player, said that the club "got what they deserved" in the course of a 2-1 defeat to Basle which saw them eliminated, six years to the day that they last exited at the group stage, against Benfica in Lisbon. He said he was "disturbed" by pre-match comments from midfielder, Phil Jones, that United were "relaxed" about the pressure. "I'd be getting hold of these players saying: 'You'd better buck your ideas up,'" Keane said.

"I don't know why you are bringing this up," replied Ferguson, after experiencing only his third group-stage elimination. "Roy has 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. That is the part of football you have to deal with. These young players will have to cope with it and get on with it in their careers."

Ferguson, whose side will be joined by Manchester City in the Europa League after their 2-0 win against Bayern Munich could not prevent Napoli qualifying, disclosed that his captain, Nemanja Vidic, had been taken off with a medial ligament injury which could see the defender out for two months.

Patrice Evra displayed the most shock. "It is embarrassing to be in the Europa League. I don't have the words to describe how I feel and all I can say is that it is a sad day," the Frenchman said. "It is not just about tonight, it is about the whole competition," he said. "We threw away the chance to qualify and from the beginning of the season we have not played well in the Champions League.

"Being in the Europa League will make it more difficult for us to win the Premier League but we deserve it. We need to play with heart and determination. We have to be honest and say we haven't been professional from the beginning of this competition. I don't know why. Maybe one or two of us have to look in the mirror and say we can do a lot better than we have done.

"I'll be honest; it is a strange feeling," Evra added. "It feels like a dream. But it is reality and we should have woken up earlier in this competition. We deserve to be out."

The City manager, Roberto Mancini, blamed a tough group for his exit. "I think that usually with 10 points all the teams go through: 99 per cent do. We made some mistakes but this can happen. Maybe now we think the Europa League is not an important trophy but if we reach the final it is," he said.

United's exit comes only 193 days after they lost to Barcelona in last season's Champions League final at Wembley, and 31 days before they face City in an FA Cup third round tie which now assumed huge significance for United. Dumped out of the Carling Cup by Crystal Palace last week, defeat to City will leave their season in ruins.

The meagre consolation is that City and United were, with Olympiakos, the best performing Champions League drop-outs, on a points basis, and will therefore face unseeded sides for the round of 32, with their away leg first. On the basis of the current Europa League standings, they could face Rubin Kazan, Besiktas or last season's finalists Braga, amongst others.

News
One Direction's Zayn Malik gazes at a bouquet of flowers in the 'Night Changes' music video
people
News
people
News
'Free the Nipple' film screening after party with We Are The XX, New York, America - 04 Feb 2014
news
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn