Ipswich nightmare has Roy Keane calling for a sports psychologist

10 December 2010 07:52
Ipswich have hired a sports psychologist to work with their players.

Some might suggest he would be best employed having a word with the club's manager, Roy Keane.

As the Irishman said himself: 'The Championship can very much be a mental job. It's very much about character building - or character breaking, really.'

It is threatening to break Keane. Ipswich sit 17th after a run of five consecutive league defeats, broken up only by a Carling Cup quarterfinal win over West Bromwich Albion nine days ago.

Searing honesty: Keane admits if he had to leave Ipswich next week he would have nobody to blame but himself

Keane got the dreaded vote of confidence from chief executive Simon Clegg on Wednesday, and he joked: 'I'll be gone next week.'

The grey-flecked beard that characterised the end of his time in charge at Sunderland two years ago has not reappeared and Keane's dark hair is not showing the stress of football management, but the fierce honesty remains.

Asked if the sale of his £9.5million, seven-bed Cheshire mansion reflected his commitment to his life in Suffolk, Keane said: 'I'm selling my house because I don't need two houses. It means nothing. I don't think I'm going to keep my job just because I bought a house, am I?'

But another defeat for Ipswich on Saturday, by former Manchester United team-mate Darren Ferguson's Preston North End side, and it could well be curtains for Keane.

Next up: Preston manager - and former Manchester United team-mate - Darren Ferguson

The former Republic of Ireland midfielder said: 'If I don't do the business - and I'm not doing it at the moment - then I'll have to pay the price, and that's life.

'There are a lot of good people out of football at the moment, people who have done a lot more than I've done. So if I'm to lose my job - if - then (I'll) think I'm still learning my trade.

'I often make mistakes, and I've made some at Ipswich, and sometimes they do catch up with you.'

So does Keane wish he could pick up the phone and call United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, just like his son, Darren?

'No,' he said. Then, after a long pause, he added: 'I speak to my dad. My dad played at a decent level. I can pick the phone up to (call) my dad.

'Darren's his own man. It creates its own pressure, of course. People automatically think you're going to be as good as his dad, which is crazy. Nobody will ever be as good as the manager at United.

'But, obviously, it helps, getting one or two players on loan, like Danny Welbeck last year. Darren was a good player. (But) I'm sure if he beats me on Saturday and I lose my job it won't keep him awake at night.'

The issue really niggling Keane is that his current crop of players are 'too nice'. The former Manchester United hard man even said he is 'too nice'. He gets frustrated - 'I have a different word for that. I didn't go to a private school. It begins with "P",' he interjects - watching his squad fail to play down the clock or concede a tactical foul.

'I think we're a young, naive team,' he said. 'These boys are just out of nappies. We're not streetwise.

'If someone pushes me, I know what I'd do back to them - and it's not apologise.

'We're too nice. I think I'm too nice. People think I'm a hard manager (but) I'm not. I'm too nice.'

Get stuck in: Keane wants to see a bit more fire in his struggling Ipswich side

Keane believes Ipswich are 'paying the price' for failing to bring in experienced players such as Shaun Derry, Lee Carsley, Kevin Kilbane, and Michael Chopra last summer. A long injury list - including England Under 21 striker Connor Wickham, Gareth McAuley and midfielder Luke Hyam - has also done them few favours.

Keane has noticed players he has worked with have an annoying habit of doing well against his team, too.

Great hope: Teengaer Connor Wickham is in-demand

The 39-year-old said: 'I think some players seem to save themselves for playing against Ipswich, particularly lads I've worked with. Craig Beattie (who scored two goals for Swansea in a 3-1 win) I know from Celtic.

'I know Quinton Fortune scored last year for Doncaster (in a 3-3 draw). I don't think he's kicked a ball since. I think they try harder against me; I don't know what it is.'

But Keane believes he has given every Ipswich player a chance to cement a place in the first team, saying: 'I've been disappointed with the results and parts of my own job I should have done better, but I think I've been loyal on that side of it. But, obviously, there's a fine line between loyalty and stupidity.'

The introspection has returned. The blame is firmly back on Keane's shoulders. The players Ipswich haven't signed are 'irrelevant', the fans are 'probably too patient' and he bats away excuses.

'Our league form is unacceptable,' Keane concludes. 'Ultimately, if I left next week I wouldn't have anyone to blame. I would have nobody to look at but myself. Simple as that.'

The Ipswich sports psychologist had better get cracking.

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Source: Daily_Mail

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