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PRESS CONFERENCE: Caretaker boss Stockdale side-steps the interesting questions ahead of Wolves

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Sunderland caretaker manager Robbie Stockdale met with the press today in what was an... erm... fascinating affair.

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On the surprise of being in charge...

No, it’s been a long week. It’s a long week anyway because we played Friday through to Sunday.

So, the gap in between the two games has been longer than normal and quite a lot has gone on in between.

It’s been a strange week, but we’re nearly at the end game and we’re prepared as well as we can for it.

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On the relief that the season is coming to an end...

I don’t know if relief is the right word. Obviously, we want to do well in the final game, I think we owe ourselves and our supporters that opportunity do that.

I wouldn’t say it’s relief.

Like I said, this week has been out of the norm, we have prepared as well as we can and we go into the game on Sunday hoping to put a good performance in.

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On Chris’s departure...

It was a shock, yeah. I was surprised when I heard the news and I think we’re all, within the building, very disappointed that he’s gone, along with Kit.

They were excellent to work for, great people and I thought it was a real coup for the club to get them.

I’m sure they’ll move on and have numerous opportunities to get back into the game and they’ll choose the right one.

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Have you spoken to Chris since his departure?

Yes, I spoke to him via text and rang him a couple of times.

He was upset, we were putting plans in place for next year and for him not to be able to see that through disappointed him.

But, that’s the reality of football, I guess. You’re never really surprised by what goes on, but it was a shock at the time.

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On Coleman wanting to stay...

Well, of course. I think he came out and told you guys that, hadn’t he?

Listen, these things happen and it’s one guarantee in football that you’ll lose your job, occasionally.

Like I said, he’s fine and he’ll move on, along with Kit and we wish them well for the future.

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The impact of the manager’s sacking on the players...

They were surprised as well.

I’ve not spoke to any individual player about how they’re feeling about the situation. But, you could certainly see in the performances, in the last two months, had picked up.

They hadn’t had results but they were certainly playing for him.

It would be unfair for me to surmise how the players are feeling, but I’d imagine it wouldn’t be far away from how the staff were feeling.

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On the reaction of potentially winning on Sunday...

Well, yes. I think if you look at the game at Fulham, I think we did well enough in the game to get something out of it.

There have been several games, in the last two months where we should have been going into this last game with something to play for, without a doubt.

For one reason or another, we haven’t managed it. I’m not here to talk about bad luck stories, we are where we are.

We’ll have to deal with that and if we win Sunday, then great.

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Can you put your finger on what’s gone wrong?

No, I don’t think it would be right for me to sit here and put my views across of what’s gone wrong.

I think we were turning a corner up until it was mathematically impossible for us to stay up.

I did have a genuine belief that we would, I thought the performances were turning, but it was too little too late.

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On approaching the future...

I’m thinking of today, training, now I’ve got through today’s training I’m thinking about tomorrow’s and then I’m thinking about the game.

I’m not allowing myself to really think beyond that. We all know what football’s like, we all know what might come and what might not.

Listen, I’m enjoying what I do, its not been an easy week but you suck it up and get on with it.

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Would you want the job if it’s offered to you?

I think it would be highly unlikely.

Listen, I don’t want to get into that, I’ve not met who potentially new owners could be.

So, I would say it’s unlikely.

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On the uncertainty of the potential sale of the club...

No, not really. I come in and do the job the best I can, I’ve had fantastic support from the staff already here.

The players have been their normal selves, very good, no complaints with that.

But, you’re right, there’s an uncertainty around the building at the minute, which is not easy. But, we just get on with it, there’s no other option.

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On the attraction of a fresh start...

Well, yes. It’s been no secret that the club has been for sale for quite a while, Hopefully, with new owners they can get this magnificent club turned around and pointing in the right direction again.

I genuinely don’t think it would take an awful lot.

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to start again and climb the pyramid of football. Hopefully, we can see that happen now.

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On having professional pride for Sunday’s game...

Yes, definitely. We want to do ourselves justice in the game.

There will be lots of young players in and around the squad, they’ve been training with us this week.

But, we also want to do well for the supporters, whether it’s the first game of pre-season or the last game of the season, any player that we select to put on the shirt on Sunday will be giving their all. If I didn’t think that they wouldn’t be playing.

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On involving younger players...

Yeah, the experiences. I remember being a young player myself and even if you’re just travelling with the time and things like that. Obviously, we had Bali (Mumba) on the bench last Friday night. A lot of the young players are playing at the minute, so I can’t go much younger because we’ll be in primary school.

The exposure that our young players and I’m talking about the ones that have been in the squad this year, the exposure they’ve had this year, even though the ultimate end bit isn’t positive, it will do them the world of good. I’ve been really proud to see the players come through and play.

I know they’re good players because I’ve had them from the Under 18’s to Under 21’s. But, the biggest thing I can think of which the stamp of quality is that they’ve never shirked it. They’ve never hid away, they’ve been an example to the younger players within the academy and some of the senior players as well. So, I’ll be asking them to do that one more time.