Keane heaps praise on Man Utd star with ‘character’ after battling defensive performance

Lisandro Martinez of Manchester United celebrates his goal during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Credit: Alamy
Lisandro Martinez of Manchester United celebrates his goal during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Credit: Alamy

Roy Keane has praised the defensive efforts of Lisandro Martinez following Manchester United’s 3-0 win against Nottingham Forest.

The Argentine defender looked sharp in the EFL Cup as he made four clearances, five tackles and won three aerial duels.

He also completed a total of 95 passes, which was more than any other player on the pitch against Forest.

Keane was left impressed with his performance as he labelled the 25-year-old as an “excellent player” following the match.

The pundit told Sky Sports: “Obviously the manager has worked with him [Martinez] so we talk about that character, that desire, we’ve seen already the benefits of having that at the club over the last few months.

“He wants to defend and he looks the right character – the kind of lad you want to be in the trenches with. We saw tonight United got a goal towards the end but he still wants to defend.

“It’s important to score the three goals but from a defender’s point of view he’ll be delighted with a clean sheet.”

Keane was left impressed with both his ability on the ball and his desire to defend, even when Man United were three goals up.

He added: “Excellent player, comes across as a really good character, gives them good balance.

“We talk about modern defenders and how good they have to be on the ball, but he looks as if his priority is defending. When he does get on the ball he’s neat and tidy as we’ve seen, he can see a pass, but he’s got pride in his defending which is great to see.

“Because again, a lot of the time with modern defenders it’s about what they do in possession, but he wants to defend and he’s got real pride in it.”

Martinez himself was left satisfied with the performance, but he there are still areas in which he and the defence can improve.

He told MUTV: “I think we showed many good things, but still, we have a lot to improve. It’s a good result, I think we controlled the game today. In training, we [Lindelof] work with each other and I think we’re doing a really good job.

“That’s the most important thing when you need a player, we have to be there, we have to be ready and Victor did very well. I think everyone is training hard, you can see now, the last two games were unlucky, we did an amazing job, but we have to keep going.”

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