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"They found a way to lose" - Roy Keane blasts Manchester United for lacking leadership and character after FA Cup elimination

  /  autty

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has lambasted the Red Devils for their defeat to Middlesbrough in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday.

Speaking on ITV, Keane was critical of United's recent home form, lamenting that the team lacked leadership to beat a Championship outfit. The 50-year-old player-turned-pundit said:

"Over the last couple of home matches, they have only scored one goal and one obviously again tonight. I was talking about Man United finding a way to win the game but what did they do, they found a way to lose the game."

"That’s not a good sign. You have to be critical of United. First half fantastic, but they are playing a Championship team. To lose to a Championship team at home in the Cup, it’s obviously not good enough."

Keane added:

"Even with the goal they conceded, they were outnumbered; players weren’t getting back, and that’s where I go back to it; you need a bit of leadership, the character to go "Ok we have dropped off for 10 or 15 minutes, but we are still up against Middlesbrough; we’ll still slip back in and find a moment."

Manchester United exited the FA Cup in the fourth round following a penalty shootout defeat against Middlesbrough after a 1-1 draw. Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty in the first half before United took the lead after 25 minutes through Jadon Sancho. However, Boro equalised in the second half through Matt Crooks.

The Red Devils had numerous opportunities to reclaim the lead, with Bruno Fernandes missing an open goal. Keane said about that miss:

"But Fernandes’s miss there; he has to score; there is no logic to that miss; he has got to hit the target."

After failing to the break the deadlock in extra time, the game went to a penalty shootout where youngster Anthony Elanga produced the only miss among both teams.

Manchester United suffer another early exit in a domestic cup competition

Manchester United have been poor in domestic cup competitions this season. The Red Devils have been knocked out of both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup in the early rounds.

Manchester United lost to West Ham United in the third round of the Carabao Cup earlier this season before suffering losing to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fourth round.

Following the Middlesbrough defeat, United's realistic hopes of silverware this season are in the Champions League. In the Premier League, fourth-placed United trail league leaders Manchester City by almost 20 points.

Keane predicted the mood in the Manchester United dressing room after the FA Cup defeat:

"Changes the mood, the mood in the ground tonight. No doubt the fans will be leaving the ground…. We were fully expecting them to beat a Championship team, Man United at home, but no. It adds more and more pressure for the upcoming games."

United have advanced to the knockouts of the UEFA Champions League. The Red Devils will hope to recover quickly from the Middlesbrough defeat before taking on reigning La Liga winners Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16. The first leg of the tie is in Madrid on 23 February.