RESPECT: The Keane Way

OFTEN, there are rarely signs of any life in the Ipswich Town dug-out, especially if you are peering down from the stand behind.While an irate manager or a very hands-on coach is usually lurking in the opposing technical area, the Town back-room staff prefer to take a back seat.

By Carl Marston

OFTEN, there are rarely signs of any life in the Ipswich Town dug-out, especially if you are peering down from the stand behind.

While an irate manager or a very hands-on coach is usually lurking in the opposing technical area, the Town back-room staff prefer to take a back seat.

It might have been assumed that Keane, who was never lost for a word as a combative midfielder, and was not immune to having the odd difference of opinion with a referee, would be in continual dialogue with his players and the officials, as a young manager.


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But that couldn't be any further from the truth. And Keane has revealed why.

“I have made a conscious effort, as a manager, to make sure that I am respectful to the officials,” explained Keane.

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“People automatically thought, after my playing days, that I'd be into every tackle on the sidelines, but that's not my philosophy.

“I just let the players get on with it. I trust them as much as I can. But you shouldn't just judge a book by its cover,” added Keane.

Even though Town were relieved to celebrate a first win of the season last weekend, at home to Derby County, Keane has not detected any change of atmosphere within the Town camp.

And the Irishman certainly hasn't had to keep his players' feet firmly on the ground.

“That's not been a test. That would only be the case if we had won 10 or 15 on the bounce!” said Keane.

“I've not noticed a major difference. It's just one win, but we need a few more. Everyone needs to relax, because it was just one victory.

“In fact, last Saturday's performance was our poorest for several weeks, and we should be doing a lot better.

“The atmosphere has not really changed for the last four or five weeks. The players have always played with freedom and confidence.

“Performances have been good for the last six or seven weeks, but we've had far too many draws.

“It's victories that we now need, especially in the Championship, which is so tight. We need to go on a run,” added Keane.

The Town boss also insisted that there was “no fear” attached to his team's current plight at the foot of the table.

He confirmed: “I don't believe in any fear factor. It's just a challenge, and a challenge to be enjoyed. It's a game of football, and fear shouldn't come into it.

“What's the worst that can happen? The manager would lose his job. That means I'd lose my job, but you can't be too fearful of that because Ipswich Town would still go on.”

Hosts Reading have only won two league games this season, and have not won a league fixture at the Madejski Stadium since a 1-0 success over champions-elect Wolves on January 27.

However, Keane has warned against complacency.

“We're not in any position to be questioning other teams' performances! They are ahead of us in the table,” admitted Keane.

“Reading are on a strange run at home, but these things happen sometimes in football. It's often difficult to put your finger on it.

“It's got to change some time, but hopefully not this weekend.

“Brendan (Rogers) will be encouraged, because his team have been creating chances in recent weeks.

“There have been a lot of changes at the club, and it's always dangerous to talk about other clubs. A lot of players have been sold, and Brendan has brought in a lot of younger players.

“Once you're out of the Premier League, it's difficult to get back in. That's what most clubs find.

“I did my UEFA Pro-License with Brendan. That's the beauty of these courses. You get to meet good people, but I'll be having no old pals' act with anybody. We might just share a cup of tea at the end of the game,” concluded Keane.

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