Roy Keane played down Manchester United’s chances of catching Manchester City in this season’s title race after their 2-0 win at the Etihad but believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side proved they could be ‘the best of the rest’ with a ‘perfect’ derby performance.
The Red Devils got off to a dream start in Sunday’s heavyweight clash as Bruno Fernandes fired them in front from the penalty spot after Anthony Martial was clumsily brought down by Gabriel Jesus in the second minute.
An inspired Luke Shaw finished off a rapid attack which he started to extended United’s advantage shortly after half-time and the visitors held firm to secure victory and close the gap on their fierce rivals to 11 points.
Pep Guardiola cut a frustrated figure on the touchline as City’s 21-match winning streak in all competitions came to an end and Keane said there was ‘swagger’ and ‘character’ in United’s performance.
But the legendary ex-United captain Keane cannot see any other team lifting the trophy other than City this season.
Asked whether United could still win the title, Keane replied: ‘For the league? No. Very, very difficult but they’ve got such an important end to the season with cup games coming up, it was vital they kept that momentum up.
‘We said earlier in the season, could they be the best of the rest? And I think they’ve proven today that they can be. Excellent.
‘Ole simplified everything, back to passing it forward quickly, counter-attack, space… everything panned out the way he hoped.
‘They had a bit of swagger about them. They weren’t cocky. I know they had a bit of a helping hand but you still have to take advantage of that and they showed a bit of character.’
Keane reserved special praise for Dean Henderson – who has been playing in David de Gea’s absence – and backed the Englishman to be a ‘brilliant goalkeeper’ going forward for United.
‘The goalkeeper was excellent. Ole used the words “nice presence about him” and that’s what the great goalkeepers have,’ the ex-Republic of Ireland midfielder added.
‘I think this kid has a great chance of being a brilliant goalkeeper for United.
‘It was a great day for United. Did we think they would win 2-0 this morning? Probably not.
‘Today was perfect for them, they took full advantage and it was a proper Manchester United performance.’