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Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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Transcript: Winchester gives insight into Sunderland’s season so far & proving doubters wrong

Speaking in a brilliant interview with Heaven’s Devils Podcast, Carl Winchester spoke honestly and passionately about recent results, having to win his doubters over, and signing for such a massive club.

Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

On the recent defeats...

“We’ve had a couple of disappointing results in the past couple of games but I feel that we’ve got the players and the squad capable of bouncing back. We’ve just got to get our head back down in training and working towards that next game.”

“It’s been tough. Obviously, it’s not nice in the manner we’ve lost them as well, we’ve conceded a lot of goals in them but it’s something we need to work on and get back to basics; because we were doing well, we’ve had a great start. Like most teams, you’re going to get these sticky patches, but is whether you’ve got the character to come through them. But I believe in the lads in the squad and I think we’re capable of turning it around.”

“It’s still early days and there’s a lot of points to play for. Every time teams play against us I feel they up their game so much, because they’re playing Sunderland and it’s a cup final for them. We have to be bang on it every single game, because when you’re not that’s where results from the last couple of weeks happen. It’s not going for us at the minute and it’s not like we’re not trying. Decisions are going against us, we just need to go against us and work hard. We have the players capable of turning this around.”

On the fans...

“If you don’t have the right attitude to play for a club like Sunderland, you’ll get found out very quick.

Up here everyone breathes football, it’s so passionate. I didn’t realise how big of a club it was until I went in to it. You see the fans, they’re unbelievable. We took 4000 to Sheffield Wednesday in League One, that’s unbelievable.

They’re incredible, they’re a big part of everything that happens at Sunderland. The atmosphere at home, I’ve never played in anything like that, it’s unbelievable, it’s crazy. It’s their religion, us as players - we have to take in to that. It’s an unbelievable place.”

Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

On playing at The SOL...

“The first game of the season, the kick-off had to get delayed against Wigan by 20 minutes because there were still people getting into the stadium. The traffic was mental.

When you first went out, the atmosphere was buzzing. When you’re a young lad you dream of playing in these atmospheres every single week, I was taking back. I know when I came up [to sign] everyone said wait and see what it’s like [at The Stadium of Light].

I was thinking it was going to be good but I didn’t realise how good it would actually be, it’s unbelievable. When you have that many people in the Stadium backing you and wanting you to do well, you want to perform for them. It’s an unbelievable club.”

On the strength of squad...

“Mentally every day, you can’t switch off. You can’t stop focusing or stop for second. Even at training you have to be on it every single day because we have that many good players in training because if you’re not playing well, there’s someone ready to take your place.”

On signing for Sunderland...

“It was a dream come true! It was my dream as a kid to play for one of the biggest clubs in England and Sunderland are a sleeping giant, it has everything in place.

That club will go again, we could be back in the Premier League in a number for years – we have everything in place: The fan base, the stadium, the facilities, we have everything. When [the move] it happened, I didn’t believe it. I was like ‘Sunderland want me, what?’ There was no way I could ever turn it down; my family back home was buzzing. All the hard work I’d put in, I finally had something to show for it.”

“I spoke to the club [Forest Green] and they said they didn’t want me to go – but they would help me as I’d been a brilliant servant to them. I was gutted in a way, because I had unfinished business and wanted to get promoted but I knew an opportunity like this wouldn’t come along again, especially at my age. I had to go, especially for a club like Sunderland.”

Sunderland v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League 1 Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

On proving doubters wrong...

“If I was a Sunderland fan I would’ve been asking ‘what are we doing signing a 28 year old from League Two, we should be looking to bring in someone from the Championship.’

So I totally understand the fans views. It took me a while to get settled moving up there and getting used to everything. I was in and out of the team but I have knuckled down and thankfully my performances, before the last couple of games, I’ve shown what I can do.

They are tough fans to crack, but once you crack them and you’re in with them, then there’s no better fans. They’re unbelievable.

Once you’re doing well at a club like Sunderland, it can make your life outside a hell of a lot better. They just want you to give 100%, they’re like [the people] where I’m from in Belfast, working-class. If you give them your effort and your all, then they’ll appreciate that. But it did take me a while to win them over.”

On playing right back...

“We didn’t sign a right back at the start of the season and I hadn’t played there for years but the gaffer asked me to play in a couple of friendlies and I played there and I’ve done well.

I’m enjoying it, as long as I’m playing week in, week out for a club like Sunderland, then I’ll play anywhere and I’ll adapt to anything.”

Focusing on the next game...

“The fans show up after getting beat 5-1 at Rotherham, 4000 to Sheffield Wednesday away.

They’re incredible and we appreciate them so much as players, even though at tomes it might be hard for them but we just have to take the blame and focus on the next game and start winning matches again.”

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