Roy Keane has backed a full-strength Manchester United mount a challenge to win this season’s Champions League title , despite their surprise 1-0 defeat against Basel on Wednesday night.
A last gasp goal by the home side from Michael Lang condemned United to a defeat in Switzerland, on a night when boss Jose Mourinho left some of his first choice starters out of his line-up.
United were all but assured of a place in the last-16 of the Champions League prior to kick-off after four straight wins to start Group A, with Mourinho’s side assured of progression in the competition so long as they don’t lose their final group game against CSKA Moscow by six goals at Old Trafford next month.
Keane has rarely been charitable towards United boss Mourinho during his reign as the club’s manager, but he was surprisingly upbeat as he offered up this verdict to ITV Sport.
“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,” declared 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. They will be competing to win this title, without a doubt.
“When lads come back to full fitness, Manchester United will compete with all the top teams, for sure.”
Keane went on to suggest United dropped into a comfort zone as they went into a game knowing a draw would be enough to secure progress to the next phase, as the Irishman offered up excuses for his former club.
“The players are intelligent enough to know that the draw (in Basel) would have one them and they started dropping deeper,” he added.
“Basel grew in confidence and deserved it on the second half performance, but United were guilty a lot of chances. And it was a game they let slip, but they still have more than enough in their locker to win the last home game.”
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) November 22, 2017