United's dip in quality exposed by Olympiakos, says Keane

Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:58am IST

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (2nd L) reacts during a Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match against Olympiakos at Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus, near Athens, February 25, 2014. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (2nd L) reacts during a Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match against Olympiakos at Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus, near Athens, February 25, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Yorgos Karahalis

Rajalakshmi (C), 28, smiles after winning the Miss Wheelchair India beauty pageant in Mumbai November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Miss Wheelchair India

Seven women from across India participated in the country's second wheelchair beauty pageant, which aims to open doors for the wheelchair-bound in modelling, film and television, according to organisers  Slideshow 

REUTERS - Manchester United were exposed as mediocre on the European stage with manager David Moyes shocked at the evidence on display in a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Olympiakos Piraeus in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The defeat in the first leg of their last 16, first leg tie had former United captain Roy Keane, now a television pundit, highlighting the quality of the Greek side and saying Moyes needed half a dozen top signings to rebuild his team.

"Criticise United all you want but Olympiakos were good. They were on the front foot and technically better than United tonight," Keane, who helped United win the European Cup in 1999, said on ITV.

"There is a lack of confidence and there are some players who just don't have the quality. We've been brainwashed that the Premier League is the best in the world - nonsense," he added.

"It's the best brand in the world but they have fallen behind, United more than most. They need six or seven players to rebuild the club."

Moyes was stunned by the worst performance of a poor season in a competition which remains their only hope of a trophy.

They need to turn the tie around at Old Trafford on March 19 because they have only the slimmest chance of returning to the Champions League next season via their Premier league position.

They are 11 points behind fourth-placed arch-rivals Liverpool who occupy the final Champions league qualifying place with 11 matches remaining this season.

WORST PERFORMANCE

"That's the worst we've played in Europe, we didn't deserve to get anything. I'm surprised, I didn't see that level of performance coming," said Moyes days after an encouraging 2-0 win at Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

"I take responsibility, it's my team and we have to play better. There is a second game and we will do all we can to turn it around," added Moyes, who has struggled with the team he inherited from the great Alex Ferguson nine months ago.

"There is undoubtedly talent at Manchester United but we didn't show it tonight," he said. "They have a very good home record so it wasn't unexpected."

Olympiakos are runaway leaders in the Greek league having won all 13 of their home games this season, but United beat them in their four previous meetings when the Old Trafford club were a force to be reckoned with in Europe.

United have not reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the last two seasons, having won their third title in 2008 and also reached the 2009 and 2011 finals under Ferguson.

They were undone on Tuesday by goals from two Latin American players, Argentine midfielder Alejandro Dominguez and Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell, neither of whom has been able to hold down a place in bigger teams.

Dominguez was back home two seasons ago on loan from Valencia helping River Plate recover from relegation but was discarded once they regained their top flight status and arrived in Greece via Madrid minnows Rayo Vallecano.

The 21-year-old Campbell, on loan from Arsenal, will relish the prospect of knocking out United as he prepares to face England in the group stage at the World Cup in Brazil in June.

(Writing by Rex Gowar in London; Additional reporting by Graham Wood in Athens)

Cricketer Dies

REUTERS SHOWCASE

IAAF Presidency

IAAF Presidency

Athletics - Coe announces plans to run for IAAF presidency.  Full Article 

Spieth Shines

Spieth Shines

Golf - Spieth upstages McIlroy, Scott at Australian Open.  Full Article 

Coach Speaks

Coach Speaks

Dortmund need results, not perfect football - Klopp.  Full Article 

Brazilian Cup

Brazilian Cup

Atletico Mineiro win Brazilian Cup.  Full Article 

Golf Update

Golf Update

Steady as she goes for jet-lagged McIlroy in Sydney.  Full Article 

Indian Soccer

Indian Soccer

India's two leagues to merge within five years - FA official.  Full Article 

Proud Wenger

Proud Wenger

Wenger proud of Arsenal but says they can do better   Full Article | Related Story 

Mandzukic Hat-trick

Mandzukic Hat-trick

Mandzukic shifts into top gear with European treble  Full Article 

Sun's Doping Ban

Sun's Doping Ban

WADA may appeal Sun's three-month doping ban  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage