Not all of the action in the Champions' League Wednesday occurred on the field. FC Basel's stunning 2-1 win that ushered Manchester United out of the competition prompted former United midfielder Roy Keane to lay into the younger players fielded by Coach Alex Ferguson, who vehemently defended them and took a few potshots at Keane's own brief and lousy stints as a manager.
Said Keane during an appearance on ITV, "People have talked about the young players – you've had [Phil] Jones, [Chris] Smalling, [Ashley] Young coming in, everybody building them up, but they've got a lot to do, it's a reality check for some. I'd be getting hold of some of those lads, saying, 'You'd better buck up your ideas.' I think their best player tonight was Ryan Giggs. That sums it up – he's 37 or 38, you can't be depending on him."
Ferguson responded angrily when Keane's comments were relayed to him, and brought up Keane's record in coaching at Sunderland and Ipswich Town.
"I don't know why you are bringing this up from a television critic," said Ferguson of the fiery Irish international who helped United win numerous trophies. "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."