Press Conference Friday
His last appearance in front of the media was something of a fraught affair as David Moyes faced a grilling over his ill-advised comments to a female BBC reporter, but the Sunderland boss will face the press again later today.
With the slap-gate controversy likely to run a while longer and his side losing both of the games this week that had to be won, a visit from Manchester United on Sunday may herald a new chapter in the tragedy unfolding at the Stadium of Light.
David Moyes apologises after telling female reporter she 'might get a slap' after interview https://t.co/yDiouGpGuC pic.twitter.com/YChb617Hn2— Independent Sport (@IndoSport) April 3, 2017
The mathematical certainty of the drop will wait for another weekend, but the reality of relegation has hit Wearside in recent days. A miracle escape now means winning at least six games in the final eight of the season.
Victory over Manchester United is a tall order but it might just avert the Stadium of Light crowd from finally snapping with Moyes. A comfortable victory for Jose Mourinho's men may yet herald angst on the home terraces this Sunday.
A crucial press conference for Sunderland and David Moyes then. Here's 5 things the beleaguered boss must address.
1. How the hell are Sunderland going to score a goal?
Two months and six games without finding the back of the net. Astonishing in its ineptitude. Sunderland have had chances during that glaring sequence - some bloody good ones too - but the dead 'goals for' sequence is the big reason why the Black Cats have been unable to launch any sort of survival bid.
Sunderland have averaged just over 2 shots at goal in that half-dozen sterile showings. It may be unlikely that many more than will come against Manchester United so the freezing in front of goal - then mucking it up - which has characterised chances falling to the likes of Januzaj, Borini and Jones in recent matches will have to be addressed.
2. Only a bold team selection will do now, do you have the balls Dave?
Drop Fabio Borini, launch Victor Anichebe and start Wahbi Khazri. The make-up of Sunderland's squad allows for little else in the boldness stakes so those three actions will be as radical as it can get. It has to be done. Now.
Lee Cattermole got just over seventy minutes under his belt on Tuesday and even his first booking since the trip to White Hart Lane in mid-September gives us some cause for cheer. Getting Catts into the heart of the battle will be key for this one.
3. Can you find a way to cut out the defensive naivety?
Individual errors and defensive naivety continues to cost Sunderland dearly. On Tuesday night it was Lamine Kone receiving a little shove in the back for Islam Slimani to open Leicester's account and the switched-off approach in the Black Cats' defence continues to undo any good work which has gone before.
It's been a feature all season and has resulted in countless goals conceded and weekly points lost. Would Moyes take a chance and reshuffle his back line? It has to be worth a go. Bring Djilobodji back in, bring Donald Love in, shove Javier Manquillo in. Who knows. Just do something.
4. Do you fear the fans will finally turn if it doesn't go to plan on Sunday?
Many have put it down to apathy and plenty have suggested the lack of angst on the terraces remains indicative of a broad support for David Moyes. But the mood has hardened this week and what was dismissed as social media antagonism at the weekend spilled over briefly into the away stand at the King Power on Tuesday.
The derision displayed towards Adnan Januzaj may yet spread to other individual Black Cats players, but there remains a strong possibility that displeasure will switch onto the manager. 'Moyes Out' may yet become a thing at the Stadium of Light. And once the Sunderland faithful turn, there's rarely any way back for the focus of their anger.
5. Would you walk away if you felt all support for you had gone?
It's unlikely - it would be costly to him personally - but up to last weekend David Moyes appeared to be reassured he retained a majority support amongst the Sunderland faithful.
Things may yet turn hostile and there are whispers of protest on social media - albeit impossible to judge whether there is any real number amongst those willing to make a staged showing of displeasure - but few managers are able to withstand terrace disapproval for any prolonged period.
If David Moyes felt he had lost the majority support, would he then be willing to exit the Stadium of Light hot seat?