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Last Updated: Thursday November 03 2005 14:19 GMT

What's going wrong at Man United?

Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand
Two defeats in a row have left Manchester United facing an embarrassing Champions League exit, and have seen their Premiership hopes fade too.

But perhaps even worse for fans of the club, the two losses have also seen two very poor performances from the players wearing the famous red shirts.

And with Premiership champions and league leaders Chelsea to come in their next match, things need to improve at Old Trafford, and quickly.

It's not just on the pitch where there have been problems, with captain Roy Keane reported to have given a controversial interview to the club's own TV station, MUTV.

In it he talked about how certain players weren't good enough for United, and his views were seen as so serious inside the club that it wasn't broadcast.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane
Keane's absence through injury has been a very important factor in United's lack of success, with his leadership and determination perhaps even more valuable than his footballing skill.

United have tried to replace him with a number of players over the last few years, this time selecting Alan Smith and Darren Fletcher in his role, and as yet haven't had much success.

Even the genius of Wayne Rooney and goalscoring of Ruud van Nistelrooy can't produce goals from nowhere, and if the midfield behind them isn't playing well, their job is that much harder.

It's not scoring goals that is a problem though, as shown in the 4-1 humbling at the hands of Middlesbrough.

Rio Ferdinand seems a different player to the one of seasons' past, and with injured pair Gary Neville and Gabriel Heinze both out, there is a lack of experience in defence.

The option of spending big in January to cover over the holes may not be an option either, with the club heavily in debt after the takeover by the Glazer family.

In fact, they may be wondering quite what they've got for their 800m investment.

An early Champions League exit and failure to win the Premiership may make it much more difficult for them to pay back the money they borrowed to buy United.



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