Roy Keane says it’s “bizarre” the way “football phrases” are used in the modern era to discredit teams of old, and believes that’s currently happening when people compare his Manchester United team of 1999 with the current Manchester City side.
City take on United in the FA Cup final next month, before heading to Istanbul to face Inter Milan in the Champions League final as they look to match 1999 Man Utd in winning a treble.
Keane, on punditry duty as City celebrated their Premier League title with a 1-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday, was asked how he feels about Pep Guardiola’s side potentially matching United’s feat this season.
Keane said: “I don’t mind watching good teams and I like to give teams credit where it’s due and I’ve no problem doing that with Man City over the last few years. I think they’re a brilliant team and I wouldn’t begrudge them the success.
“Micah thinks they’re the greatest team of any sport in the history. They’re very good.”
Asked where City rank compared to the 1999 Treble-winning side he was a part of, Keane said: “They haven’t [won a Treble yet], they’re an amazing team and they’ve got an important few weeks coming up.
“They’re clear favourites to get it done, but they still have to go and do it. I’d obviously have preference to the team I was involved in.
“I thought we had brilliant players, brilliant characters, this City group has it as well of course so I think it would be a pretty decent game.
“The game has changed and I suppose they’ve probably got a bigger squad. They’ve got probably more internationals involved, when you look at the players coming off the bench.
“You talk about Jack Grealish there recently, a £100m player coming off the bench, particularly last year. But he’s matured this year, so City probably have a bit more strength in depth in terms of world-class quality, but I go back to the lads I played with and we always felt we had some brilliant characters, but then again so do CIty, so it’s maybe an unfair question to come to somebody who is involved in it.”
Fellow pundit Micah Richards doesn’t believe United “could compete” with this current City side “in terms of style of play”.
Richards said: “They’ve done it so you’ve got to give credit to them, we’ve always got to give respect to Man United, but I think as a team and the way they play football, I don’t think the Man United team could compete in terms of style of play.
“We talk about these new terminologies, breaking the lines, and inverting full-backs.”
Keane responded: “This is the problem you have. People talk about playing inbetween the lines as if we didn’t. It’s bizarre, the phrases in football.”
Richards then claimed that United did not play as well as this City side has done, to which Keane retorted: “How do you know? You weren’t watching the same game as me.”
Richards added: “I don’t think they entertained as good as Man City. He’s changing the game, he’s putting centre-backs into midfield, he’s putting full-backs into midfield.”
Keane then raised the point that he himself played at both full-back and at centre-back, before Richards finished: “Not with the same movement. You were a great team and I’m not saying the Man City team is better, I’m just saying they’re playing more attractive football.”
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