'Keegan has lost it'

Debutant Berkovic blasts his former manager as City crisis deepens
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Kevin Keegan was last night accused of acting like "a big baby" by his former midfielder Eyal Berkovic, who claimed that the Manchester City manager "deserved to be sacked" after the club's 14th Premiership match without a victory. The outburst followed the Israeli midfielder's winning debut against his former team after a transfer to Portsmouth on Friday.

Berkovic said that Keegan had lost the support of the City dressing room, adding: "I'm very happy to be at my new club with a new challenge. Everyone knows I fell out with Keegan. I didn't see another reason why he didn't play me as I was the best player in training for six months and everybody knows that. 45,000 supporters [the capacity at City's ground] knew that I had to play but he was behaving like a big baby. I told him that. I think at the end of the day he deserves to be sacked."

Keegan, clearly shocked, responded by saying: "That is his opinion and he is entitled to it. Sadly people will print it. He should learn to keep his own counsel a bit more. I sold him and he might be a bit bitter. I wished him good luck and made it all as easy as I could [for him to leave]. He wanted to go and we had to do something. His comments don't bother me a bit - I've had worse things said about me."

Nevertheless the outburst is damaging given City's plight, especially as the Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp revealed that Berkovic had arrived on a free transfer - and not the £500,000 fee previously reported. To add further insult it is believed that City may be paying part of his £27,000-a-week wages. To add injury Keegan also confirmed that goalkeeper David Seaman, who left the pitch early, had been taken to hospital with a suspected fracture to either his shoulder or collar bone. Keegan said he would now need to find two goalkeepers.

Not savers but saviours are the requirement at Leeds United, who slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur. Inevitably, it was Robbie Keane, one of the players who slipped away from Elland Road before the crisis bit hard, who scored the goal that put Leeds' Premiership survival under heavier pressure.

The pressure had been mounting on Gérard Houllier, but the Liverpool manager cajoled his troops into grinding out another 1-0 victory - after the one at Chelsea, yesterday's came at home to Aston Villa. It was not pretty but Mark Delaney's own goal was enough to keep them on the heels of the clubs holding keys to the Champions' League.

Charlton Athletic, who have played one game more, defeated Wolves 2-0, courtesy of two goals by Jason Euell, to stay two points ahead in the fourth place that Liverpool covet.