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Last Updated:  Sunday, 2 March, 2003, 23:32 GMT
Keane pins hopes on Europe
By Paul Fletcher
BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

Roy Keane and David Beckham look dejected after the Worthington Cup final
Keane and David Beckham look dejected after the final whistle
Manchester United's trophy drought continues after their Worthington Cup final defeat by Liverpool at the Millennium Stadium.

It was United's first cup final since 1999, but goals from Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen mean their long wait to win a cup competition goes on.

And United skipper Roy Keane admitted afterwards that his team's best chance of winning a trophy this season is now in the Champions League.

The last time United triumphed in a knockout competition, they completed the treble by spectacularly overcoming Bayern Munich in the final of that competition four years ago.

Keane, who was suspended that day, desperately wanted to lift the Worthington Cup and begin the process of replenishing the United trophy cabinet.

"The players, managers, staff are all upset but I suppose nowhere near as bad as the fans," said Keane.

"If you don't win a match in football you feel as though you have let the fans down."

Again we are pinning our hopes on the European Cup, which is a dangerous game to play
Roy Keane

United finished last season trophyless and the defeat in Cardiff means big-money signings such as Ruud van Nistelrooy and Juan Sebastian Veron have nothing to show so far from their careers at Old Trafford.

The defeat was compounded by the news that Arsenal won against Charlton, further extending their lead at the top of the Premiership.

And so, barring an unlikely loss of nerve by Arsene Wenger's team, United's best chance of winning silverware comes in the form of the Champions League.

But formidable opposition remains between Sir Alex Ferguson's side and a repeat of their 1999 exploits.

"It would have been nice to get a piece of silverware in the cabinet, especially with the opposition being Liverpool," reflected Keane.

"We've just got to lick our wounds. We've got a game against Leeds on Wednesday and we'll get on with training for Wednesday.

"The players know we'll have to get together, get ready and try to keep the pressure on Arsenal.

"But we are eight points behind them, which puts them in a very strong position and again we are pinning our hopes on the European Cup, which is a dangerous game to play as we saw last season.

"We wanted to win the Worthington Cup - we want to win every trophy competition we enter. But having said that there is nothing we can do about it now."

One journalist pointed out to Keane that the defeat means the United skipper has now lost in three League Cup Finals.

It was not the wisest question to ask a man whose mental make-up is programmed to the business of winning.

"I know and I don't need you to remind me," said the Irishman with more than a hint of menace in his voice and anger in his eyes.

Whether that stern face will be able to break into the smile of success come the end of the season remains to be seen.




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Man Utd captain Roy Keane
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