Football: We keep giving teams a chance .. it can't go on; KEANE LETS FLY OVER DEFENSIVE LAPSES.
ROY KEANE has launched a withering attack on his Manchester United team-mates by warning that they will soon pay the price for their defensive jitters.
The Old Trafford skipper is still reeling from United's second-half collapse at Everton at the weekend which saw them lose a 3-0 half-time lead before Ruud van Nistelrooy's last-gasp winner.
The Premiership champions have looked shaky at the back since Rio Ferdinand limped out of the 1-0 defeat at Wolves last month to start his eight-month ban for missing a drugs test.
Ferdinand's replacement, Wes Brown, has struggled to adjust to life back in the first-team after nine-months out with a cruciate ligament injury.
And even goalkeeper Tim Howard has shown signs of nerves in recent weeks after making a stunning start to his United career this season.
Everton's comeback on Saturday came just a week after United shipped two goals against Southampton at Old Trafford.
But with United set to resume their Champions League campaign against FC Porto later this month, Keane fears that the club's defensive worries could wreck their European ambitions.
And he admits that United's sudden defensive failure is becoming a growing concern with the season reaching its most crucial stage.
Keane said: "It is a worry because we can't keep doing that for the rest of the season. We got away with it at Everton and against Southampton last week. But against tougher opposition in the Premiership and in Europe we certainly won't get away with it.
"We can't keep giving teams the chances that we have given away in the last couple of matches.
"We were a bit fortunate in the second half at Everton, but eventually you are going to come unstuck.
"It's not like us to give a 3-0 lead away and we even said at half-time, 'let's not give them any encouragement', because we knew if we did, their fans would get behind them.
"We then did exactly the opposite to what we had said and let Everton back into the game."
Despite the frailties of the Brown-Mikael Silvestre central defensive partnership, Keane insists that the whole team must share the responsibility for United's problems.
And he has demanded extra work on the training ground this week in a bid to iron out the flaws ahead of Saturday's FA Cup fifth round clash against Manchester City at Old Trafford.
Keane said: "People look at the defence, but it is a team game and when we win it's great for the team, but when we lose, we have got to look at each other.
"I wouldn't be too critical of the defence alone. I think the whole team has been at fault.
"We have to look at ourselves and work hard on the training ground and try to eradicate the mistakes.
"The good thing that came out of the game was that at least we showed great character to get the result at the end.
"After throwing away a 3-0 lead, most teams would settle for a point, but we went after the winner and got it."
.. his other amazing blasts
APRIL 2001: "I have seen United players getting complacent, thinking they've done it all and getting carried away by a bit of success. It is up to the manager to know when to move people on, and he is strong enough to know when to do it."
MAY 2002: "Players need to stand up and be counted. I'm not sure that happens a lot at this club. We're not asking for miracles. We're asking them to do what they should be doing. When players don't do that it's bloody frustrating."
APRIL 2003: "The players have to take responsibility. It's up to us to produce once we cross that white line and we're not doing that at the moment. I've seen some great players leave here in the last ten years because the manager didn't think they were doing the business any more."
KEANE: The Manchester United captain is never afraid to tell it like it is; BROWN
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Feb 10, 2004|
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