Roy Keane was on punditry duty on Wednesday night once again to analyse the week’s Champions League action, and he had much to discuss.
The Republic of Ireland assistant manager was, as usual, part of ITV’s Champions League highlights analysis team in a week where Leicester progressed against Sevilla but Manchester City surrendered a two-goal lead to get knocked out by Monaco.
Keane gave a typically frank and brutal assessment of Man City’s squad after the match at Stade Louis II, wherein he stated his opinion that the squad that Pep Guardiola is working with is nowhere near the standard required to challenge for the competition:
“I think where Pep wants to bring Man City, that’s competing in the Champions League and Premier League, he simply doesn’t have the player to do it. The Man City players are just not good enough to get to that level.
“You can’t compare where City are with Barcelona and Bayern Munich when he got to those clubs and I think this will confirm Pep’s thoughts from over the last few months.
“You need a big setback in a big game to confirm it and to say to the owners; we need to get four, five, six top quality players into the club.
“Otherwise when they are at this stage of the competition again next year, they are going to have exactly the same problems.”
Keane (and fellow pundit Lee Dixon) then took aim at the overall standard of the Premier League. Leicester are the sole English participants in the quarter-finals, and lack of Premier League involvement in the latter stages has become a recurring theme in recent seasons.
“The standard of the Premiership has certainly dropped over the last few years,
“I think the top, world class players aren’t in England, they’re playing in Spain, the Ronaldos, the Messis, the Bales, and that’s what I mean in terms of winning the big trophies, the Champions League.”
Finally, the former Manchester United captain gave a withering assessment of Jamie Vardy’s part in Sevilla’s Samir Nasri being sent off in Tuesday night’s 2-0 victory for Leicester at the King Power. The England international made the most of contact from Nasri and influenced the referee’s decision as a result, and Keane has no qualms about calling that out as cheating:
“I think if the referee’s going to send Nasri off, you have to send the two of them off.
“Vardy’s reaction, it’s not cute, I think it’s a form of cheating. You’d expect Nasri to get sent off (I forgot he was on the yellow), but still you look at Vardy’s reaction and you know, you’d expect better.”