Roy fears he is becoming too nice

AFTER settling neatly into life in rural Suffolk Roy Keane is looking to avoid two things - failure and becoming too nice.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

AFTER settling neatly into life in rural Suffolk Roy Keane is looking to avoid two things - failure and becoming too nice.

Compared to the hurly burly of Manchester and Glasgow as a player, then the maelstrom of the northeast as manager of Sunderland Keane is finding the laid back pleasantness of East Anglia a little disconcerting and something he wants to jolt his players out of.

He said: “This is such a nice area. I have not bumped into one angry person. I have not seen anyone with road rage or anything. I'm not knocking that but the team in the past have also been accused of being a very nice team, particularly when they have had the ball. But we are going to go to good teams, like the West Brom and Sheffield Uniteds and we may not have the ball for 60-70 per cent of the time and it is no good being nice then.”

And with a little twinkle in the eye he added: “I have settled into the area well - I'm even becoming nice myself am I not?”

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The Blues boss, who has moved to house in a small Suffolk village, admits he is guarding against the danger of getting sucked into the nicey-nicey way.

Keane said: “It is a new chapter for me and the Tony and Antonio who have joined me have found it easy to settle in and that is down to the people of Ipswich.

“That said I'm here to do the business. Be under no illusions I'm here to get this team promoted.”

While the country life may have given Keane a new perspective, there is no doubt the fierce determination to succeed still burns brightly.

He said: “If we don't get promoted this year then next and if we have not been promoted by the end of my contact in two years then I will class that as failure. None of this mid-table business for me. Any half-decent manager can take a team and finish mid table in the Championship.

“I want to be one of the best managers around and that will come from experience.

“Hopefully my Sunderland experience will stand me in good stead because despite one or two bad decisions I made up there I did some decent stuff.”

And any suggestion that Keane may prefer dealing with Championship players, rather than having to cope with the rigours of the top flight, is also met with short thrift.

He said: “No, you can't beat the Premiership. Let us not kid ourselves. That is where I should be and I want to get there this year.

“My message to the players is that a lot of them can play in the Premiership and fingers crossed that will be with us.

“Some have lost their way. Some have maybe fallen into a comfort zone on a decent wage, living in a nice area with nice people. “They get sucked into that and a coasting but they won't be allowed to coast with me.”

Keane has looked to toughen up his squad with a hectic pre-season that took then to Ireland twice, Portugal day trips to London and a stint with the Parachute Regiment at Colchester.

He said: “It was not necessarily the results I was looking at. It was about getting to know the players and their characters.

“I enjoyed working with the players. They showed a good mentality in all aspects in what we were looking for. It was not just the training but the way they handled themselves around the hotels and airports.

“That was good for me -whether it means anything when the real action starts who knows?

“We did a lot of travelling, it was not ideal in terms of getting up early, getting back late night and it was not all first class.

“We did it the hard way on trips.”

And he added half-jokingly: “The club has this thing called a budget, which I'm still getting used to.”

Keane's good humour and relaxed manner may be tested in the season ahead but the Blues will look to get off to a winning start on Sunday when they go to Coventry City for a 12.45pm kick off.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk