Sheffield Wednesday 2 Sunderland 4: Keane keeps sense of perspective in promotion push

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The Independent Online

Empathy, congruence, appreciation and understanding are not words you would naturally associate with Roy Keane. Ask Sir Alex Ferguson, Mick McCarthy or Old Trafford's prawn sandwich brigade.

Ask the Sunderland manager a question after the match and it is answered on a need to know basis. He has an economy of words. He stares and glares at the questioner with piercing and penetrative eyes in a cold, calculating and controlled manner and if you are under a deadline you look away first.

Despite being three goals up after an hour and only the Owls goalkeeper Mark Crossley and the Wednesday woodwork having denied his side more, Keane saw his glass as half-empty rather than half-full. He swallowed hard and his mood deepened with two late goals from Wednesday, before Carlos Edwards' late goal ensured the three points for the visitors.

Keane is a perfectionist and a hard taskmaster, but although he may not be a touchy-feely manager his style appears to be working after Sunderland's eighth win in 12 games.

No one is bigger than a club but Keane is mightily close. The travelling Sunderland fans saw four goals but it was Keane for whom they incessantly chanted, rather than the scorers. No danger, then, of the players getting blasé. Not that Keane will allow that. It is not his style.

All talk of promotion is batted away and it is left to the players to voice their hopes and dreams. The Sweden international midfielder Tobias Hysen, the scorer of the second goal, said: "The manager's goal is to get promotion and it doesn't matter how we do it. We're still going for automatic promotion, but if that doesn't happen then the target is the play-offs.

"If you get to the play-offs it becomes a mental thing. The play-offs are a nervy situation. The manager is always telling us that we are good players and that we have the best squad in the Championship."

Hysen may expect a few words from Keane today after voicing the unthinkable. If Keane ever gets bored of the challenge at Sunderland, Celebrity Big Brother beckons.

Goals: Yorke (21) 0-1; Hysen (45) 0-2; Connolly (58) 0-3; Brunt (82) 1-3; Small (87) 2-3; Edwards (89) 2-4.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Crossley; Folly, Bullen, Coughlan (McAllister, 37), O'Brien (Clarke, 30); Small, Whelan, Lunt, Brunt; MacLean (Burton, 63), Tudgay. Substitutes not used: Adamson (gk), Graham.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Ward; Whitehead, Nosworthy, Evans, Collins; Edwards, Yorke, L Miller (Leadbitter, 63), Hysen (Wallace, 90); Elliott, Connolly (Murphy, 74). Substitutes not used: Fulop (gk), Varga.

Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).

Booked: Sunderland Yorke, Collins.

Man of the match: Hysen.

Attendance: 29,103.

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