Battered by the 7-1 defeat at Everton last Saturday, Roy Keane said that he stayed in bed until lunchtime on Sunday.
For all the glory of his Manchester United playing days, Keane said that it is the bad days he remembers most, and that he suffers "flashbacks", presumably to Saipan, scene of his 2002 World Cup fall-out, Turin, where a booking cost him a place in the Champions League final, and red mists at St James' Park and elsewhere.
Now Goodison Park is part of his condition. "You want to keep the list short but last weekend added another one," the Sunderland manager said. "I'll remember them until the day I die."
There was a rueful smile with the comment and Keane's tone was not downbeat. "Basic defensive errors," was the explanation for the drubbing at Everton, but he argued that today is "an opportunity" for Sunderland's players to recoup some of their lost reputation. It is Derby County, now managed by Paul Jewell, who visit the Stadium of Light for a fixture that now feels even more tense than the average relegation six-pointer.
Keane has not used the word relegation yet this season but he accepted yesterday that Sunderland are in the third group of clubs and that the season is about staying up. "We had to take it on the chin," he said of Everton, "there was no hiding place last week. I would be worried if people questioned our desire or work-rate. It was just a few shortcomings exposed.
"The players will have suffered this week. We have to react properly. Saturday afternoon makes or breaks your week. We have one or two with expectations on their shoulders. We have slipped into the bottom three. We don't deserve to be there but the table doesn't lie."
Keane repeated his assertion that his "inexperience" contributed to the 7-1 scoreline at Everton "at 4-1 down we still kept bombing forward" but denied it was an attempt to shield his players.
"I am fine. I have had a lot to digest. I will look back and say that was a low point for me as a manager. You have to be a quick learner. There was a beauty about it because Everton smelled blood and hammered it home and there was no element of sympathy. I would have loved to be on the other side. Sometimes you need to be hammered to learn a lesson."Reuse content