Roy Keane has hit back at Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson’s jibes over his lack of success as a manager – and defended his right to criticize his former club.

Keane, now working as a television pundit as he awaits a return to management, lashed out at the United players after their Champions League exit in Basel a fortnight ago.

ITV viewers heard Keane say "United got what they deserved" after they lost in Switzerland, a comment which did not go down well with Ferguson.

The veteran Scottish manager replied: “Roy had an opportunity to prove himself as a manager too. It is a difficult job.”



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Ferguson then used his program notes to have another go at Keane.

“There is criticism of the club coming even from people we thought were perhaps on our side,” he said.

Now Keane has replied to Ferguson’s jibes in an interview with the Sunday Times reporter David Walsh.

Keane told the Sunday Times: “If you want to question my managerial record, listen, you could question every pundit’s managerial skill in relation to Ferguson’s and we’re all going to come up short.

“But I would also say that without players like myself, maybe he wouldn’t have such a good managerial record because players who go down the punditry road, it’s soon forgotten that we put bodies on the line for him.”

In the extensive interview, Keane also accused Ferguson of failing to stand by him after his abrupt exit from United in 2005.

“People say he stood by me in difficult times,” added Keane.

“But he didn’t when I was 34, not when I was towards the end and had a few differences with his assistant Carlos Queiroz. All of a sudden then it was off you go, Roy, and here’s the statement we’ve done.”