- Ronaldo's contract terminated in November
- United have since enjoyed upturn in form
- Keane admits CR7 exit has been a factor
WHAT HAPPENED? The Manchester United legend covered the Red Devils' 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest in their League Cup semi-final for Sky Sports, with Ten Hag's side progressing to the final 5-0 on aggregate. United have enjoyed a resurgence since the mutual termination of Ronaldo's contract in November, winning 12 home games on the bounce. Keane had been a fierce defender of Ronaldo towards the end of his second spell at Old Trafford, but has now admitted that his former team-mate's exit has helped Ten Hag affect significant change.
WHAT THEY SAID: The United legend told Sky Sports: "I think that's helped (Ronaldo's departure) the manager and the club. That whole Ronaldo situation, he obviously wasn't going to sit on the bench and be happy with it. 'They've now dealt with it and now it's now hanging over the club anymore."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite conceding that United are better off without Ronaldo, who has taken up a new challenge in Saudi Arabia with Al-Nassr, Keane feels Ten Hag's summer clear-out was even more important. The likes of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani all left as free agents, and the former United defender is glad that they are no longer bringing the rest of the squad down.
He added: "The other five or six lads that left, [Edinson] Cavani another one. Those who were fringe players, coming off the bench, and when they were coming on they weren't bringing anything because they felt they should have been starting. Those subs and fringe players have to come on and be ready, whereas the fringe players last year, you just felt they were energy-sappers.
"There definitely feels around the club a new energy, the new manager has put a few markers down after a bad to start to the season, and that momentum and that feel good factor is back at the club."
IN THREE PHOTOS:GettyGetty ImagesGetty
WHAT NEXT FOR MANCHESTER UNITED & RONALDO? The Red Devils will be back in action on Saturday against Crystal Palace in the Premier League, while Ronaldo will hope to get on the scoresheet when Al-Nassr make a trip to Al Fateh in the Saudi Pro League.