Inter Miami winger Lewis Morgan was a guest on the Open Goal podcast last year, where he made some controversial comments regarding his loan spell at Sunderland during the second half of the 2018-19 season.
The 24-year-old appeared on the Scots Abroad Pod this week to talk about his career and experiences in America so far, and while on the show took the time to clarify his previous comments.
Morgan says that he was not taken out of context during the Open Goal podcast, but admits he used words he should not have used. He went on to explain that he was trying to get across that a club the size of Sunderland should not find themselves in the position they are in:
My words weren’t misconstrued on the Open Goal interview, I probably just used the wrong words.
That club is a massive club, (I have) so much respect for everything at that club. I think the word, I don’t want to use what word I used, because that’s not a correct representation of that club. That club is huge.
What I was trying to get across was the situation wasn’t fitting of a club the size of Sunderland. The situation we were in, I think the squad of players - it goes back to momentum - it’s hard to get momentum in football.
You see these teams that get on a run of form in the Championship and they end up getting relegated, who would think Sunderland would get relegated from the Championship? The position that they’re in to this day isn’t what Sunderland fans deserve or Sunderland Football Club deserve.
I think the loan move there, I’m going to play under Jack Ross a manager I love, a coach I love but football, when you’re inside a football club it’s different to what fans perception can be. It wasn’t that the players weren’t trying or whatever, but sometimes in football there’s just some weird thing that hangs above a clubs head and it’s difficult to lift.
The time there wasn’t successful for whatever reason and been in that environment in a team that’s not doing so well, there’s so much pressure on, the team isn’t performing.
In the St Mirren team everything was there to help me to play, at Sunderland that just wasn’t the case and it wasn’t for a lack of trying or a lack of what anyone was doing. Sometimes situations are just like that. We just weren’t anywhere near what Sunderland Football Club should’ve been.
The Scottish international also said that there was some hangover from the EFL Trophy defeat to Portsmouth but a big part of the problem at the end of the season was the overreliance on Aiden McGeady:
There might’ve been a hangover, but I also think loads of it…Aiden McGeady was by far and away our best player. Went I went down I obviously knew Aiden, the career that he had at Celtic, Spartak Moscow and Everton. It’s probably a testament to him - I’m trying to give him a compliment here - but I was shocked at just how good he was, it took me back a bit in training. I was like ‘Ok, he is seriously a good player!’.
I think the team was too reliant on playing for Aiden to dig us out a hole and eventually he picked up an injury in his foot. He’s got that broken bone in his foot and now it’s like ‘we’ve been so used to playing this way’. Maybe it would’ve been similar at St. Mirren if I had got injured but then you’d lose a couple of games and then like I said about momentum, good or bad, when you start losing games and then you concede a goal it’s like ‘oh no not again.’
We were too reliant on Aiden, staying in games and then hoping he’d be the difference maker and we didn’t change our style. It’s hard to put your finger on what happened but I do think it was tough to stand out on an individual level the way the club was at that point in time.
I sincerely hope the club go back up. What I said was a mistake, sometimes you get a little too comfortable and you’re not really thinking about it. There was no malice on my part, I have no ill feeling towards that club and I want them to get back to where they should be. It was a tough end to the season.
He also moved to clarify his comments on the play-off final, where he replaced Max Power after just nine minutes.
Morgan had previously said that he was not ready to come on and his head was not in the right place in the lead up to the game but, speaking to Scots Abroad, he said it is difficult to be thrown into a game early on when you are on a different warm up routine to the starting eleven.
You’re never prepared to come on two minutes into a game of football. You’ll not even do the same warm up as the guys that are starting, your warm up is completely different, you’re not even involved.
So maybe you’re doing your own warm up and like you say, maybe the day before I was told I was coming on at 60 minutes and it’s hard to get your emotions ready for the game of football starting right then. You lose energy thinking and focusing on games of football and you want to keep yourself fresh for coming on.
The plan probably would’ve been at the half time warm up that I would’ve been bang at it and already focusing on the game. But when you’re playing a game and you think you’re not coming on to the 60th minute - that’s already been told to you - which I actually think looking back, I can understand why the manager done it. It was a completely tactical decision.
But I’ve never once in my life, not even in a training session not given 100%, every single day that’s just how I am. So sometimes it’s tough to mentally switch on when you come on 2 to 3 minutes in a game, you’ve not done the same warm up as everyone, you’ve not been on the same set pieces as everyone.
During the week you’re not in the team to then get flung in, it probably easy for a fan to say that it should never be like that, if something goes wrong in maybe your life and you get you upset about it, it’s not for someone to say ‘you should’ve done this or you should’ve done that.’
When you care about football and you want to win so much, there’s disappointments and there was never a moment where I didn’t try or anything like that. Sometimes you just don’t have the same impact, some days you feel brilliant, some days you don’t. It was unfortunate and I wish I played better but there was loads of guys that day that would’ve said that they could played better. I’m harsh on myself.
McGeady had been described as ruthless by Morgan but he said he meant that in an affectionate manner due to their Scottish personalities:
He’s a very big personality, people think he might give boys a hard time and it was never like that. Scottish people are different to English people, you know what’s it like. We slaughter each other all the time that’s just how you basically tell someone you like them. I got on brilliant with Aiden, he’s a top player.
You can listen to the full Lewis Morgan interview with the Scots Abroad Pod by pressing play on the link below: