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21st Oct 2016

Diego Forlan reveals Roy Keane’s derogatory description of Chelsea

Tell us what you really think, Roy...

Robert Redmond

Of all the team-talks Alex Ferguson gave during the 12 and half years Roy Keane was at Old Trafford, one went down particularly well with the former Manchester United captain.

“It was Tottenham at home. I thought please don’t go on about Tottenham, we all know what Tottenham is about, they are nice and tidy but we’ll fucking do them,” Keane writes in his second autobiography.

“He (Ferguson) came in and said: ‘Lads, it’s Tottenham’, and that was it. Brilliant.”

In addition to being a great line, Ferguson’s estimation of Spurs arguably shows that the all-conquering United teams of the past had little regard for the majority of their opponents in the Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United

During Keane’s time at Old Trafford, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle Untied briefly challenged United, but Arsenal were their main title rivals.

Liverpool finished above United once during Keane’s time at United, and Chelsea won the league in the Irishman’s last full season at the club, the 2004/05 season.

However, for the majority of Keane’s spell in Manchester, Chelsea, while occasionally beating United and winning trophies, weren’t United’s title rivals.

Which may explain why Keane described them in such unflattering terms to Diego Forlan.

“‘Chelsea are a small club, nothing like as big as Liverpool or Arsenal,’ my captain Roy Keane and other Manchester United players explained when I asked them about Chelsea,” the former United striker, who played for the club between 2002 and 2004, writes in his column for The National.

Forlan also looks ahead to Sunday’s game at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and United, and the return of Jose Mourinho to his old club.

The Uruguayan striker credits Mourinho, who was manager in 2005 when Chelsea won their first league title in over 50 years, with “taking a ‘small club’ and making them champions of England.”

He expects Mourinho to get a warm reception at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Forlan also backed the United manager, and record signing Paul Pogba, to overcome their somewhat patchy beginning to the season.

Manchester United FC v Fenerbahce SK - UEFA Europa League

“Mourinho has done OK so far. It is not his fault that expectations were so high when he arrived,” Forlan writes.

“It is not Paul Pogba’s fault that people thought he would be like Lionel Messi, scoring goals and winning games with the ease of a player on a computer game. Like his manager, Pogba also needs time. He has gone from playing in a very good and stable Juventus side where there were few expectations on him because he was a young player, to playing in a team who have yet to find their best formation where he is expected to be the main man and make them shine.

“United being seventh in the league has lowered expectations. Any lower and it becomes a problem, but it is best to start judging Mourinho after Christmas and 25 league games rather than eight.”

In the latest GAA Hour, we talk to Ken McGrath of Waterford and with Declan Brennan about a new club players’ association.

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