Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Sbragia slams Keane criticism of Sunderland

Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia is not a man to court controversy, but he is clearly weary of Roy Keane discussing Sunderland in the press and yesterday Sbragia sarcastically suggested of Keane: "Maybe he still thinks he's the manager.

"I don't know. Maybe. I wouldn't go and criticise Ipswich. I wouldn't do that. I don't think that's right. Maybe he's just bored so he thinks: 'I'll have a go at Sunderland.'"

Sbragia was responding to fresh criticism from Keane about the nature of his December departure from Wearside and also the state of the playing staff at Sunderland.

"I don't have a problem with the winning mentality of my squad," Sbragia said.

"The majority of them, he brought in, so he would know more about that. He talks about mental toughness, but he brought the players in, didn't he?"

Keane is understood to be threatening legal action against Sunderland over possible bonus pay should the club stay in the Premier League — The Black Cats host Everton tomorrow.

Sbragia is under pressure locally following last Saturday's disastrous 3-0 defeat at West Brom and obviously does not want any further distractions.

"It just seems that if he wants a bit of publicity, he says something," Sbragia, who was brought to the club by Keane, added.

"Why doesn't he talk about Ipswich; why is he always talking about Sunderland? That's what I don't understand.

"Why do I think he left Sunderland? He'll know that. He knows the exact reason. I wouldn't want to go into print and say exactly what I know about what he said and what he did.

“I know exactly why he left, but I don't go and talk about other clubs. I think he should just concentrate on Ipswich. He's back in football. He should enjoy it."

Keane is unlikely to be impressed with Sbragia's opinion, but it should boost Sbragia's standing on Wearside.

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