It was a mixed week for the British sides in the Champions League.
While Arsenal enjoyed a comfortable win against Ludogorets and Premier League champions Leicester recorded a vital win at home to FC Copenhagen, Tottenham emerged from Leverkusen with a 0-0 draw while Manchester City and Celtic suffered damaging defeats at the hands of Barcelona and Borrusia Monchengladbach respectively.
In his role as an ITV pundit for their highlights package, Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane was less than impressed with what he saw with the Premier League sides and Celtic (with the exception of his usual targets Arsenal).
Despite Tottenham claiming what could be a precious point in Germany and being the only unbeaten team left in the Premier League, Keane was pessimistic about their chances of winning silverware at the end of the season:
“Much stronger squad, they’re missing a few important players but that’s part of the challenge for any group of players, to cope with it, and a good result for them [against Leverkusen] I think it’s in their own hands.
“But this idea that they can win the Premiership, I think, no chance. I don’t care [that they’re the only unbeaten team left], I can’t see them winning it.”
He was critical of Man City and their manager Pep Guardiola, particularly the decision to insist that goalkeeper Claudio Bravo played it out from the back – which in turn contributed to his red card:
“I think City’s approach tonight was very brave, but very stupid as well.
“A few of the goals tonight were from players guilty of overplaying in the wrong areas…Everyone loves to see good football but it’s your decision, when to play and when to clear your lines and clearly City got punished for the number of mistakes they made.
“I’ve never read or heard so much on a goalkeeper coming to a club about what he does with his feet…Ultimately he wants to play as much as he can, but not there and then.”
The former Sunderland and Ipswich manager tore into Celtic defender Kolo Touré for an inept display. The summer signing has generally put in good performances since his arrival but was at fault for at least one, if not both, of the goals that saw Celtic fall to a 2-0 home defeat against Gladbach.
“The decision-making, he’s got to just clear his lines. I think he makes far too many mistakes. Over his career, he just costs you.”
Finally, Keane refused to compliment Leicester’s decision to prioritise Europe over the domestic league. The reigning champions have collected nine points from three games so far in the Champions League – one more than they have amassed in eight games at home.
“No, no slack.
“Talking about Champions League form, really good group for them and they’re doing well, confidence is growing, the whole club’s enjoying it and why not? But they have to remember hat got them to the Champions League as their bread butter doing well week in week out in the Premiership.
To me, they’ve lost that bit of hunger, the goals they’re giving away, the chances they’re giving up – I’ve been really disappointed with this group of player so no, no slack.”