Roy Keane defends his right to criticise Manchester United

Roy Keane and Sir Alex Ferguson
Keane played under Ferguson between 1993 and 2005

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has defended his right to criticise the club following their shock Champions League exit to Basel.

Keane said United "got what they deserved", prompting United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to hit back.

"It's a difficult job," said Ferguson when questioning Keane's own managerial record after the game.

Keane replied: "Without players like myself, maybe he wouldn't have such a good managerial record."

Keane, who works as a television pundit and has managed Ipswich Town and Sunderland, added in an interview with the Sunday Times: "Players who go down the punditry road, it's soon forgotten that we put bodies on the line for him [Ferguson]."

Ferguson and Keane's relationship broke down following the midfielder's departure from the club in November 2005.

The fall-out has escalated recently when Ferguson talked in his programme notes before last weekend's game against Wolves about criticism of the club coming "even from people we thought were perhaps on our side".

Keane lays the blame with Ferguson after revealing he was the subject of legal action by the club in April 2008 following comments he made to the media which were critical of United's handling of his exit.

"People say he stood by me in difficult times," the Irishman said. "But he didn't when I was 34, not when I was towards the end [of my career] and had a few differences with [former United assistant boss] Carlos Queiroz.

"All of a sudden then, 'Off you go, Roy, and here's the statement we've done."'

The 40-year-old was invited to November's banquet which celebrated Ferguson's 25 years at the club, however he chose not to attend.

"The way it [his exit from United] ended, the legal letter, I couldn't have gone and sat there like everything was great," he added.

"He [Ferguson] would come and we all stand up and clap, I couldn't have done that."

Though his relationship with his former manager is almost non-existent, Keane insists he only has good memories of his 12-and-half years at the club.

"I count my blessings to have played for Manchester United," he commented.

"All my family are United fans and I don't have any bitterness towards Man United, please let's make that clear."

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