Can you put your finger on what is going wrong?
It’s difficult to pinpoint really. When we’ve looked at and analysed the games, we’ve played well in games - we’re just making daft errors at times or players not taking responsibility (for) what they’re supposed to be doing. But, again on Saturday there was nothing much in the game between both teams - we probably had the better chances, and then we make an error from a set piece and then it’s like groundhog day, it becomes very hard with our record at the stadium of light that we go a goal behind and we don’t seem to be able to recover from it. We’re working hard to eradicate the mistakes, the confidence is still there from the players and belief cos I do see them when they play and they still look like a team that have not got the confidence levels low down.
On how he feels about how nothing seems to be changing:
It’s frustrating for us all, because we all want results, we all want victories - we’re all desperate to get victories at home. We’ve done ok, our record away from home has been quite good, I think we’re one of the leading goalscorers in the division away from home. We just have to get this monkey off our back at home and it’s about being brave, both with the ball and without it, and it’s about getting some sustained pressure and making sure that when we get chances we’re ruthless and we don’t give opportunities to the opposition in where we make the mistakes rather than them doing something out of the unordinary.
On the fact we haven’t won at home in nearly a year:
I’d be lying if I didn’t think it was affecting the group but it’s got to change somewhere, sometime, and lets hope its on Tuesday because it’s something that has obviously dragged on for eleven, ten months now.
I think everybody’s clear that it affects the players when results aren’t going for you, especially at home - the majority of supporters are home fans and they want to see victories, they wanna see wins, and obviously we’ve not been able to give them that. We know what we need to do, and obviously starting on Tuesday night has got to be the time to do it.
On ‘home truths’:
I protect my players all the time, and I wasn’t singling out any individuals cos I won’t do that, what gets said in the dressing room remains there, but it was about collectiveness, about us all making sure we can take responsibility.
I’m responsible cos I pick the team and the players are responsible because when they cross that white line it’s their jobs to go out and pass the ball, get the ball back, pick up from set pieces, take set pieces with good quality. It’s their responsibility because that’s what they’re paid to do. We set them up as I’ve mentioned and all them sorts of things, but ultimately it’s players - whether it’s at Sunderland or anywhere up and down the country - once they cross that white line it’s very difficult for a manager to have too much influence on what happens.
On Jonny Williams’ post match comments:
I’m pleased that they’re disappointed cos it’s hurting everybody, course it is. We’re losing at home, and we’re losing football matches, but I’ve been around football dressing rooms for 32 years now and I genuinely don’t sense that there’s any sort of split within the group. They’re all desperate to put things that are going wrong at this moment in time right.
On Sunday morning we trained, we were a bit down in the dumps a little bit, but we got them going and this morning they’ve been bright. I just think they’re so desperate, like I am and the rest of my staff, to get a result for everybody because it’s obvious the football club needs one.
On whether he’s spoken to Martin Bain or Ellis Short:
I speak to Martin every day so our conversations are no different from when I first came in to what it is now. We both know what we need to do, we both have opinions on certain things. I’ve got a real strong relationship with Martin Bain, he’s very supportive of what I’m doing and sees behind the scenes what we are doing because we do feel like we’ve improved the football club. The atmosphere at the training ground and a lot of other aspects at the club have improved significantly but ultimately as managers you’re judged on results, and we’re not getting the results that the performances and the work that we’re doing behind the scenes, (it) is not quite paying off for us yet but we do genuinely think that we’re not going to be far away from that.
Are you concerned for your own future?
Look, I think winning a football match for the football club is more important than what it is for Simon Grayson. I’ve been a manager for twelve years, I know what it’s all about, I’ve been through good times, I’ve been sacked a couple of times, so I’m doing my best for this football club to get a result, not for myself.
I’ve never been in a job for personal gain, it’s all about the bigger picture of a football club, as I said I’ve improved it in certain areas. I know that I need to improve it in other areas as well, time does help you get that but I do know that we need results for everybody.
On how important Tuesday’s result could be:
It’s not a good position to be in, and we don’t wanna be there, but we do know what the Championship is like - you get a couple of wins and it gets you up the table, and suddenly things look a little bit rosier going into different parts of the season. We know what we need to do - as I keep saying we’re not a million miles away, we created a couple of good chances on Saturday that if we’d taken them and got the first goal it’s a different atmosphere, it’s a different position to be in, and that’s why its so important that in any match that if you get the first goal it gives you an opportunity, but I think especially at the Stadium of Light if we get the first one it’ll make a huge amount of difference to us.
On fan frustrations:
We’re second from bottom in the Championship and a club like Sunderland shouldn’t be there, but you’ve got no divine right to be at the top or in the bottom three because of name, you’ve got to do it and you’ve gotta earn the right and the points to get you into a stronger position in the league, and we know what need to do. All that I’ll say to the players is ‘go out and show the supporters what you really mean and care about’. We’ve said that from day one and for large parts the supporters have stayed with the team - yeah, they’re gunna have a little moan and groan at times but that happens up and down the country all the time. What we’ve got to do is try and stick together as a group and do what ever is required on Tuesday night to get the result for everybody concerned.
On people who think ‘something needs to change’:
Look - winning a football match will change the whole environment and mentality of everybody. Do I think I’m the right man for the job? Course I do. I’m experienced, I’ve been through good times and bad times as a manager. I can’t think of too many other people that are in football at this moment of time that would be in a better position or could do job than what I’m doing at this moment of time. I know that I need to do things that are better, and I’m improving and I’m working every day, every hour that there is to improve this football club, and the players are doing that but ultimately it’s about what we do on the grass and that’s why it’s going to be so important to win a game in the next few very quickly.
“Can you turn this around?”
100%. I’ve been through stages of my career as a manager, as a player, where I’ve had tough times. I’m not a quitter or anything like that, I stick me chest out, I’m the front of this big football club, this fantastic football club, and I’m here to galvanise and get it going again.
I keep saying on a weekly basis, I had a comfortable job at Preston, but I had the balls to come to this football club and show what I wanted to do and trust my ability that I can make a good club great again. There’s a lot of obstacles that have gone in the way in the past, since I’ve been here, and other obstacles that I probably didn’t realise that I’d have put in front of me which I’ve had to deal with, and that’s why I’ll come through this hopefully very quickly and we’re all looking at a different Sunderland football club in the near future.
On Bolton being bottom, suggesting that they can be beaten - could this be the one?
Well, so should Bristol City. They’re fourth in the division and there was nothing in the game - we should have beat them on Saturday because we were the better team. We weren’t clinical at both ends of the pitch which has been something that has let us down nearly all season. Somebody was saying to me the other day, Leeds - who are fourth or fifth in the division - we’ve only lost two more games than a team that are in the top six and that’s sort of some record of where we are at this moment of time that shows you what can happen in the Championship. Have we got a good chance of winning the game on Tuesday night? Course we have, cos we have some talented players, some hungry players, hopefully we get the breaks when we need them and we get the result that we all deserve and want.
On the players:
That’s why I say to them that they’ve got to take responsibility on that pitch. There’s some experienced players out there who know what is required to go and win games. Are them players at this moment in time playing to the best of their abilities? No. Can they do? Course they can, because they’re very very talented players some of them and we’ve got experienced players that need to help other players along and do what’s required to win the game, because I keep saying we’ve got a group that are desperate to do well.
Is it a must win game?
It’s a must win game because Sunderland football club needs another win very quickly, not just for my benefit but for the state of where we are as a football club at this moment of time. Let’s hope that after the game we’re talking about a hoodoo that has been broken and we’ve won for the first time for a few weeks and we can all move forward very quickly.