The Reaction Of The Players To Saturday...
I think we’re all hurting, we’re all suffering. The only remedy is of course the points are obvious, but it’s the performance really. It’s not so much the fact that we keep on missing opportunities, we keep on performing for half of 90 minutes and that’s where we’re struggling at the minute. If you do that, it’s inevitable that you’re not going to get the three points that we so desperately need.
So, that’s why we’re all a bit sore and it’s a bit painful. Standing around scratching our heads saying; “It’s happened again”. We we’re going into the Brentford game and three points changes everybody’s lives really, in the position we’re in. If we played well for 90 minutes, sometimes you play well and you don’t get the three points and you can understand that, but we missed 45 minutes. Nervous, shaky, undecided for the first 45 minutes on Saturday.
We got what we deserved then - we’re going into half-time 2-0 down and it’s the same old. That’s disappointing. We’re in the bottom three of course and that’s hard enough in itself, but there’s a manner in which you lose a game of football. That’s what’s compounding our position in where we are and that’s why the feeling has been negative. But, there’s another game tomorrow night and it’s amazing what a good performance does to you, but I said the same last week and we missed 45 minutes.
I said after the game, maybe one or two, it was a bit tough at the minute for them, so maybe there are changes to be made there. Let’s see tomorrow, it’s another opportunity and let’s see if we can take it.
Too Tough For the Players?
Yeah, but forget football, it’s life isn’t it? Life’s not sunshine and rainbows every day, it’s hard, you get hard times, tough times. You either rise to it and get through it or you duck it. It’s one or the other and anyone who tries to live a life in between, there’s no such thing as a life in between. You’re in or you’re out, that’s it.
I thought Saturday, I’m not going to hide what I said or try to cover it up. It was too much for one or two. I know everyone has built this week as do or die for us, but there are a lot of points to play for still. But, how many times can I sit here and say there are a lot of points to play for? Come on! There’s a game tomorrow night, it’s right in front of us, how are we going to get away from where we are? We can’t get away from where we are by doing what we’ve been doing. We’re going to get what we get, which is not a lot. We need to change something, so let’s see tomorrow.
On Other Teams Having More Fight...
At the moment, over 90 minutes, yeah. I’m not going to hide that, that’s my concern. I’ve lost and fallen down, failed many times myself. I can handle that, what really gets to me is they’re not competing and standing up to the fight. That’s the one thing that keeps me awake at night and I don’t think we’ve been doing it for 90 minutes in the last four games, it’s been half a game.
I look at our lads and you know what, if you work with our lads every day they’re not a bad bunch of lads, not at all, they’re good guys. They just need to show it more consistently, not for 45 minutes, not when we’re 2-0 down, not when it’s too late. It’s got to be from the start and in the last four games we haven’t done that.
If you look at the teams that are in and around us, In the last four games they’ve been losing also. I can’t say I’ve watched all their games, but if you said to me; “At least Sunderland in the last four games have showed some fight, more than the teams around us”, I couldn’t agree with you, because we haven’t. We’re missing 45 minutes, in the last four games we’ve missed 45 minutes in every game and that’s the worrying factor.
Can You Explain the Inconsistency?
I can’t, no. If I’m honest with you, I can’t explain it, I don’t understand it. I understand the fear factor at the Stadium of Light, I understand we’re on the back of three or four years of negativity. Who could blame our supporters for feeling like they do? You couldn’t. But, we’ve got to carry that and what we do now is, if we do perform, even if it’s half empty at the stadium they make a lot of noise.
But, we haven’t performed, so they’re not going to make a lot of noise or if they do make a lot of noise it’s negative and who can blame them for that?
Another game goes by, another 90 minutes, another three points slips by, the teams in and around us aren’t going to keep losing also. Someone is going to win and pull away, so is it going to be us? It can be us if we want it to be, but we just need to need it, not hope and wish, we need to go and make it happen.
If you look at Sunderland in the last four games, yep, you’d raise an eyebrow. We couldn’t have any argument, any criticism that’s coming our way, we have no argument, we haven’t. But, I still believe in the lads, I believe in the boys, they’re our lads, our boys and we need to try and keep them fired up. We need to try and stay positive and we need to go and do it ourselves because nobody is going to do it for us. So, there’s lots to be negative for, I understand that, but we’ve got to try and stay as positive as we can because there are a lot of points. Even after tomorrow night there are a lot of points to be played for and we’ve just got to make the most of it.
How Big is the Bolton Game?
It’s a great game, I think. That’s how I look at it, it’s a great game. I’m sure Phil will be looking at It the same way and it’s an opportunity for them. They’ve lost the last couple also. Sometimes in your life, you get tested, properly tested. Isn’t that what it’s all about? How do you get them through it? How do you meet it? How do you meet the challenge? That’s what it’s all about, I think.
Yeah, pressure, it’s huge. But, if you come through that test positively it can give you an incredible feeling and you can build on that, so that’s how I look at it. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night, tough, pressure blah blah blah. It’s an opportunity as well, it’s only an opportunity if we take it, of course.
Is It Easier to Play Away?
I think for us, yeah. I think there’s less pressure on us, probably, to play away from home. All we need to do it at home is to show some bite from the first minute. We kicked off on Saturday and from the kick off, you could see nerves and that sent shockwaves down us for 45 minutes.
What’s the worst that can happen? We’re playing at the Stadium of Light, we’re playing at Sunderland, we’ve been booed off more times than I can remember. So, what’s the worst that can happen to us? From the first bell, the first whistle, go for it, let’s go for it. If I was saying to the lads; “Listen, just be careful for 45 minutes, maybe we’ll come strong second half”, I could understand it, but those are not the messages. I know it’s hard for them, it is hard for them, I know it’s hard for them and I feel the pressure there, we all do.
But, we can easily turn that around, honestly. I think our fans just need to see a bunch of people, win lose or draw, having a go. If they don’t see that or they see it for half a game, it’s not our fans, you could name another set of supporters and they wouldn’t be happy with that. So, I do get that. But, we’re away tomorrow night and it’s probably better, in terms of the game for us. But, if you look at our last four games, I’m sure if you’re Bolton, If I was Phil Parkinson id be saying; “The last four games, blah blah blah”. You, anybody else, you can’t change that for us, it’s only us that can change that, simple as that.
On Martin Bain...
Of course. But, Martin is very much the man that’s been pushed out in the front and he’s accepted responsibility. I said Saturday that he’s a big boy Martin and he can handle it, there’s no problem.
I do understand that people have to vent their anger somewhere and I think they’ve had enough of what’s been going on and Martin is a front man for that. He’s got to take it and he knows that. But, for me, 15 years as a manager and I don’t think I’ve worked for a better Chief Executive than the one I’m working for now. So, he’s taken the criticism and he’ll take it, he’s a big boy, I’ve already said that.
We understand that people are going to vent their anger and rightly so, we’ve got to accept that.
The Fear of Where the Club Is Going...
There’s a double-edged sword, at a club like Sunderland where there’s incredible passion and a lot of supporters, they need people here that care about the club as much as them. There lies a problem, obviously Ellis wants to sell the club and they recognise that his love for the club was maybe yesterday. So, of course, until that changes, he wants to sell the club, that’s common knowledges.
Until we get someone that wants to turn a corner with it and love it and care for it, look after it. Hence all the negativity, because if the people here and they do love the club, if they don’t think you feel the same away then there’s a problem. We know about all of that, the anger and the frustration from everybody.
Myself, Martin and the players, we’ve got to accept that and we’ll take that on the chin. But, until we have a new owner with new ideas, we are where we are.