Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boss Hails Top Cats' Hard Work

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Boss Hails Top Cats' Hard Work

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stuart Rayner

Roy Keane has hailed Sunderland's position at the top of the Football League as fitting reward for Sunderland's hard work, writes Stuart Rayner.

The Black Cats went top of the table for the first time in the Irishman's fledgling managerial career after beating Southampton at St Mary's Stadium yesterday.

Seven of the starting XI also played in the 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday and, having had to cling on to a lead at the weekend, they were chasing yesterday's game.

The Black Cats kicked off at 5.15pm knowing a win would take them top after Derby County drew 1-1 with Coventry City but, as the game entered its final 15 minutes, Keane would have been happy with a draw until long-range efforts from Carlos Edwards and Grant Leadbitter turned the match in their favour. It extended Sunderland's unbeaten run to 15 matches ( form the Irishman put down to good players, good fortune but most of all a great work ethic.

"The lads have stuck at it and ground out the results," he said. "We've had a bit of luck along the way but, as the old saying goes, the harder you work, the luckier you get. Our players work extremely hard every single day and there is a good working environment around the club now. When you have that, you have a chance.

"There's been a few games where we've had to dig deep, but that's what you'd expect over the course of a campaign. We had a hard match on Saturday but the players keep doing the business. I thought there were a lot of tired legs, but that applied to both teams. When you go 1-0 down away to any team it's always going to be difficult.

"I have good players, a good staff and the fans have been very supportive. There are good characters in our dressing room and we have a good balance in the squad."

It spoke volumes for the strength of Keane's squad that he was able to make four changes without noticeably weakening his team. …

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