Sunderland boss Roy Keane has admitted he cannot wait to put this season behind him after Saturday’s demoralising defeat at Bolton.
The Irishman was furious at the way his side capitulated at the Reebok Stadium a week after securing their own Barclays Premier League status, and promised a major overhaul of his squad in his post-match comments.
Keane has experienced a whirlwind two seasons since taking over at the Stadium of Light, and while he will spend much of the summer trying to re-shape his playing staff, he will also take the opportunity to put his feet up.
“I am ready for a break. I have had enough after the Bolton game, really had enough,” Keane said.
“I didn’t have a great summer last year trying to get my coaching badges, but I will have a break this summer. I will have a break.
“It has been a tough season for everyone, but the good thing about the Bolton game is that it just confirmed what I already know.
“To lose that many games in a season – and it’s not as if we have been on a fantastic cup run – is not acceptable.
“We cannot kid ourselves. We are talking about Premiership level here, not non-league. How many times do you have to say the same things over again?
“People are getting fed up with me saying the same things and so am I.
“That’s why I keep using the word ’character’. We have some good ones here at the club, and we need some more. We need more players, we need more quality.”
Keane has insisted sentiment will not come into the decision making process as he looks to the future – he transfer-listed Greg Halford, Ross Wallace, David Connolly, Stanislav Varga, Ian Harte, Steven Wright and Graham Kavanagh in January and later added Liam Miller to the list for poor time-keeping.
In addition, Andy Cole, Russell Anderson and Clive Clarke have joined Wright, Halford, Kavanagh and Varga in being sent out on loan, and only Dwight Yorke of those players who are out of contract at the end of the season seems likely to be offered a new deal.
Keane’s assessment of the deficiencies within his squad was withering in the immediate aftermath of the defeat at Bolton, and he pulled no punches when asked what would be required to address the situation.
“There will be changes in the summer, big changes. Seven or eight? At least,” Keane told the Sunderland Echo.
“I need to get the right people in, but whether I can remains to be seen. I am not going to say we need 10-15 players, but we need major changes.”