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Premier League

Sbragia hits back after fresh taunts from Keane

Ricky Sbragia is not a man to court controversy but he is clearly weary of Roy Keane discussing Sunderland in the press and yesterday the manager sarcastically suggested of Keane: "Maybe he still thinks he's the manager [of Sunderland].

"I don't know. Maybe? I wouldn't go and criticise Ipswich. I wouldn't do that. I don't think that's right. Maybe he's just bored so he thinks: 'I'll have a go at Sunderland.' "

Sbragia was responding to fresh criticism from Keane about the nature of his departure from Wearside in December, and also the state of the playing staff at Sunderland.

"I don't have a problem with the winning mentality of my squad," Sbragia said. "The majority of them, he [Keane] brought in. He talks about mental toughness but he brought the players in, didn't he?"

Keane, the Ipswich Town manager, is understood to be threatening legal action against Sunderland over possible bonus pay should the club stay in the Premier League. Sbragia is under pressure following last Saturday's 3-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion and obviously does not want any distractions before the visit of Everton to the Stadium of Light tomorrow.

"It just seems that if he wants a bit of publicity, he says something," the Sunderland manager said. "Why doesn't he talk about Ipswich? Why is he always talking about Sunderland?"