SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Keane tells players not to let fans down
Here's what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago.
DON’T LET THE FANS DOWN NOW!:
Take responsibility ... and enjoy playing in the big games, Keane tells Cats
Roy Keane has warned his Sunderland players not to fail today’s bumper Boxing Day crowd.
The Black Cats host Leeds United at the Stadium of Light in front of the biggest attendance of the season so far.
And Keane is looking for a reaction from his players after panning their performance during a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Friday night.
The Irishman said: “You are going to have your ups and downs in football an it is about how you react to them. I have said all along that I am learning new things about my players and today I’ll find out a little more.
“The players have got to be up for it. We’ll have a big crowd in and they’ll be expecting us to react positively. They’ll want to leave with smiles on their faces.
“The players have to go out and enjoy playing in front of the big crowd. It should be why they wanted to be footballers.”
Keane has underlined the commitment he expects from his charges.
He said: “Players should be up for it whether they’re playing in games, training or in their lives. You have to be professional 24 hours a day, every day.
“I hope the defeat at Crystal Palace wasn’t because players weren’t up for it. I don’t think that’s the case, but if they’re not, they’re in trouble.”
Defeat at Selhurst Park may have told the Wearsiders – who were unbeaten in their previous seven games – that there is never room for complacency.
The manager added: “Friday was a great reminder to people that we have a long way to go. We have to get out of the habit of starting slowly. It happened on Friday. I want my players to go out and take responsibility.”
Sunderland’s travel arrangements for Palace were disrupted by the dense fog. They travelled by train to London on Thursday instead of flying the following morning, and had to return to the North East on the team bus following the defeat – after weather conditions made it risky to fly.
Keane will hope his men have got the journey out of their systems quickly. They at least benefit from more rest than Leeds, who hosted Hull on Saturday.