Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sbragia Returned Democracy after Shock Exit

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sbragia Returned Democracy after Shock Exit

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas

RICKY Sbragia believes Roy Keane will rediscover his Midas touch at Ipswich - but says he had no qualms about ripping up his predecessor's blueprint for success and returning "democracy" to the players.

Keane might have left five months ago but his return to management still dominated the Sunderland agenda yesterday, overshadowing the Black Cats' critical relegation clash with West Brom for 24 hours at least.

It brought into sharp contrast the differing approaches of the two men, and the changes that Sbragia has imposed since Keane walked out on Sunderland in December. After consulting the players, they are no longer required to stay in a hotel before home matches and he has also changed the "rigid" training schedule that Keane imposed.

But the biggest difference between the two men is that there has been a return to dressing room democracy under Sbragia, with the players allowed to have a say in most of the major decisions the manager has to make.

"I wanted to give a bit more democracy back to them. I'm a little bit different (from Roy). I feel that players can selfgovern in the dressing room," he said.

"I can't always be right and if it's going to affect the players I tend to talk to them about it, I tell them where I'm coming from and ask them for their thoughts.

"I do make the decisions, but after talking to them I'll decide which way to go and I might consider something they say to me. It needed to change and (getting rid of the hotel stay) was the biggest change we made to what was happening previously. There aren't drastic changes. I've changed a couple of things in training and I've also changed a couple of things regarding the hotel situation. We asked the players whether they would prefer to stay in their own bed or a hotel bed and the feedback was that they wanted to stay at home for home games.

"United go away at home, a lot of teams do, but I felt we were away too much in general. When I was a player, I preferred to stay at home for home games and then away when we had to travel. …

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