Roy Keane insists that Manchester United’s loss to FC Basel is merely a hiccup for a weakened side, and that they will be a UEFA Champions League contender this season.
A Michael Lang goal in the 88th-minute condemned Man United to their first defeat in Europe’s elite club competition, away from home to Swiss opposition, at a stadium where they have struggled historically.
United will almost certainly qualify as Group A winners despite the loss, having thrashed both Basel and CSKA Moscow in their opening four games, as well as two wins against Benfica, at Old Trafford and away from home.
“The big plus for United was that their form has been that good in the Champions League that they gave themselves room to slip up,” explained Keane.
“It was a weakened team. There were five or six players in that team will not be in United’s strongest team. Mourinho will be looking at the bigger picture; forget about tonight and move on.”
Keane expects United to compete with Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Real Madrid and other European giants for the ultimate glory of the Champions League.
“They will be competing to win this title, without a doubt,” Keane asserted.
“When lads come back to full fitness, Manchester United will compete with all the top teams, for sure.”
United have just welcomed back a whole host of injured players, the most important being Paul Pogba. He had been out since United’s last game with Basel, back in mid-September, and stole the show at the weekend against Newcastle.
But United don’t currently look like a Champions League-winning side, though usually the winner of the tournament can hardly be seen at the group stages. The best sides come into their own in the latter stages of the season.
Put United against Paris Saint-Germain right now, though, and Reds wouldn’t be confident.