DJIBRIL Cisse has insisted that Roy Keane’s departure from Sunderland has not made him any less determined to secure a permanent transfer to the Stadium of Light.

Cisse, who scored his seventh goal of the season in Saturday’s 4-1 win at Hull, is currently on a season-long loan from French club Marseille.

He has spoken of his desire to extend his stay on Wearside, but prior to Keane’s departure, had always qualified his words with a eulogy about how much he was enjoying working with the former Manchester United skipper.

With a fee having already been agreed with Marseille, Cisse has reassured Sunderland supporters that his determination to secure a permanent move to Wearside remains undimmed.

“This (Keane leaving) has not changed my opinion on whether I want to stay at Sunderland,”

said the France international.

“It was very sad for me, but I like the club that much it doesn’t affect the way I think. I really want to take this club to the next level. The identity of the manager doesn’t change that.

“I only came to Sunderland on loan, but I have quickly grown to love the club. I love the fans and the way people are with me. They are really nice with me, and so the least I can do is show them the same respect.”

Cisse spoke of helping to push Sunderland towards Europe when he arrived in August, and while the Black Cats were in the relegation zone prior to Saturday’s thumping win over Hull, he does not see why the current campaign should be a writeoff.

The 27-year-old was playing for a Marseille side who climbed from the bottom three of Ligue One to second place after sacking their boss.

“I have been in this kind of situation before,” said Cisse.

“When we changed manager at Marseille, we were in the bottom three. But by the end of the season, we finished second.

That just shows how quickly things can turn around.

“We need to stick together and fight, and that is what we are doing at the moment.”

That unity has been apparent ever since Ricky Sbragia was appointed as caretaker manager, and Cisse has become the latest player to endorse the Scotsman’s claims to a permanent post.

“Ricky is a really good guy,” he said. There is no reason for us to change the situation.

It is working at the moment so give him a chance.”