Roy Keane launched a furious verbal attack on “frightened” Manchester United following their bore draw with Arsenal on Saturday night.
The Red Devils fell further off the pace at the top of the Premier League as they failed to bounce back from their shock midweek defeat by rock-bottom Sheffield United.
United created more chances but could not find a way through and they are now three points behind leaders Manchester City, having played a game more than their neighbours.
Former Red Devils captain Keane didn’t hold back in his criticism of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, accusing them of looking scared and lacking belief in their bid for the top-flight title.
He told Sky Sports: “There’s different pressure. Where they were the last few months, they were getting the plaudits but they were just sneaking up the table.
“They got into the good habit of winning football matches, even if they weren’t playing great; particularly away from home on the counter attack.
“But all of a sudden in the last three or four weeks when they’ve got to the top – and people are saying ‘can you win the league’, ‘can you compete with Man City?’
“And it looks like the players have got a bit, almost frightened of the challenge. It’s as if they’ve gone ‘I don’t think we’re ready for that yet’. It seems to be (they’re happy with second).”
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City earlier beat bottom club Sheffield United 1-0 to move to 44 points from 20 matches while United are on 41 points from one game more.
Following their shock home defeat by Sheffield United on Wednesday, United boss Solskjaer reverted to his strongest side although he lost Scott McTominay during the first half.
But they failed to break down Arsenal and Keane added: “I’m scratching my head with United. The worry for me, watching them today, was they almost lacked the belief that they could go and win the game.
“It’s Man United. You’re looking at Arsenal who are missing a few players. I know that doesn’t guarantee you to win football matches.
“The game was there for the taking. Imagine playing for Manchester United and having a lack of belief that you can go and win a game off football.
“(Edinson) Cavani obviously has got to score. Overall, the performance lacked that intensity. We can make excuses, people talk about no supporters at stadiums, lots of fixtures.
“But a real lack of quality from man United. And a real lack of conviction and desire to take the game to Arsenal. Arsenal certainly deserved a draw at least.”