Belfast Telegraph

Keane focused on avoiding drop

Michael Keane insists he cannot even contemplate relegation after turning his back on Manchester United for Burnley.

The 21-year-old central defender has signed for the Clarets on a permanent basis after several months on loan and performed exceptionally in the 2-1 win over QPR in his first match after formally cutting ties with United.

Keane, an England Under-21 international, admitted it was a wrench to leave the club he joined as a nine-year-old.

He said: "It was a big decision. I spoke to my family about it for ages because I had been there for nearly 12 years now. But I felt it was the right time, especially as I am playing regularly and I wouldn't get that at United at the minute.

"They didn't force me out, but they said if everyone is fit there I wouldn't be starting games. I thought I am playing games here and at my age I have a chance to play regularly in the Premier League and that's all I ever wanted, so it was quite an easy decision in the end.

"Now we want to stay in this league and we believe with the performances we have been putting in recently we can do.

"It was a huge game for us and we knew we had to win, especially at home against the teams that are around us."

Burnley had two excellent goals, and at odds with windy, freezing conditions, to thank for the three points, from Scott Arfield and Danny Ings either side of a Charlie Austin penalty.

It meant QPR equalled a record that has stood for 50 years - not since Sunderland in 1965 has a top-flight team lost their first 10 away games of the season.

At the final whsitle, Richard Dunne and Clint Hill became involved in an angry exchange of words with travelling QPR fans and the Irish defender had to be dragged away by goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock and Joey Barton.

"Someone said something to Richard Dunne that was all," said Hoops boss Redknapp. "Kevin Hitchcock went and took Dunney away - someone just got the hump. He didn't go to have a row with anyone - he just went over and started applauding and someone had a go."

Redknapp was scathing about his defenders and added: "No one is more disappointed than me but it's hard to win away.

"Seven or eight of that team were playing last year in the Championship and finished miles behind Burnley and 20 points behind Leicester, so we can't get carried away about who we are. We are scrapping away with the other clubs down there."

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