Sven praises Keane ahead of weekend clash

April 11, 2008

Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has praised Sunderland counterpart Roy Keane for the job he has done in guiding his side to the brink of Premier League safety.

However, despite their position of relative comfort he does not expect an easy ride from the Black Cats when the two sides meet at the Stadium of Light tomorrow.

Sunderland, 10 points clear of the relegation zone, are not certain of survival just yet while ninth-placed City desperately need a win after two victories in their last eight league matches derailed their bid for UEFA Cup football.

The Wearsiders, by contrast, have won the last three to lift them to the verge of safety in their first season back in the Premier League.

'I await another fight at Sunderland. They are doing very well at the moment, they have had good results and are playing good football,' said Eriksson.

'They look safe; they are 10 points above relegation and Keane has been doing an excellent job, fantastic.'

City still harbour faint European hopes and it has been a mantra of Eriksson's in recent weeks that he still believes they can achieve it.

'We haven't given up on Europe, absolutely not, and I hope the players will show that on Saturday,' said the Swede.

'We have to try to take points before the season is finished.'

The City boss hopes an improved performance - which ended in a 2-0 home defeat - against title-chasers Chelsea will lift spirits after a 3-1 disaster against 10-man Birmingham the previous week.

'At Birmingham I don't think we had a good performance at all but it was much better against Chelsea,' added the former England coach.

'Part of the reason was we played very good football.'