Keane: United can dominate Europe

ROY KEANE believes Manchester United are worthy Premier League champions and that manager Alex Ferguson’s next goal is to dominate Europe the way Liverpool did in the late Seventies and early Eighties.

Sunderland boss Keane, United’s former skipper, insists he never had any doubts that his old club would see off the challenge of Chelsea to hold on to their top-flight crown.

Keane joked: ‘‘I said they should have given them the medals ages ago! The best team always wins the league and United are the best team in the league and well done to them for that.

‘‘It’s always a good achievement, but when you play for Man United, winning titles should be expected and not necessarily celebrated too much.

‘‘It’s a major shock at Man United if they don’t win titles. When you’re up there with the best players, you should be winning titles.

‘‘It was a good run from Chelsea, but they dropped points at home to the likes of Wigan and Bolton the other day, and that’s the difference between winning and losing titles.

‘‘United have the best players, the best manager, so they should expect to win titles.’’

United are now bidding for a double by beating Chelsea in the Champions League final next Wednesday.

And Keane, who watched from the sidelines due to suspension when United won their second European Cup in 1999, added: ‘‘Winning drives the manager on. If you’re going to win the European Cup, you need that bit of luck.

‘‘I have to say I think United have probably lacked that over the years and decisions have gone against them, but this year they’re in the final and they have a hell of a chance of winning it for the third time.

‘‘Arsenal have never won it, Chelsea have never won it. The thing is to catch up with Liverpool next, because they have won it five times.

‘‘I think Alex Ferguson said when he first got the job that the target was to knock Liverpool off their perch — he’s done that in terms of winning leagues but, don’t worry, he’ll want to win European Cups.’’

Meanwhile Alexander Hleb’s agent insisted yesterday that the player would not resort to buying out his Arsenal contract but could still be set for a summer move away from Emirates Stadium.

The future of the Belarus winger has been the subject of much speculation ever since reports emerged of secret talks with Inter, allegedly held while he was in the Italian city ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League game against rivals AC Milan at the San Siro.

Hleb’s agent Nikolai Shpilevski insisted yesterday: “Alexander will not buy out the remaining part of his five-year contract for a fixed sum of his sale.

“Hleb is a gentleman and will not stoop to that level. Everything will be done properly.’’

“I can only confirm that some of the world’s biggest clubs are interested in him.

“I am sure that the situation surrounding this issue will finally be resolved in the next 10 days.”


Lifestyle

Lacemakers in Limerick want to preserve their unique craft for future generations and hope to gain UNESCO heritage status, writes Ellie O’Byrne.Made in Munster: Lace-making a labour of love rather than laborious industry

More From The Irish Examiner