Sunderland caretaker ball to take flexible approach

Sunderlands caretaker manager Kevin Ball
Sunderlands caretaker manager Kevin Ball

KEVIN BALL says he would like Sunderland to be flexible in their tactical approach – if he is handed the reins on a permanent basis.

Caretaker boss Ball has used a different formation in each of his two games in charge after abandoning the rigid 4-4-2 of Paolo Di Canio.

Ball deployed Emanuele Giaccherini in the hole behind lone striker Jozy Altidore for the Capital One Cup third round clash with Peterborough, but then moved the Italian international out wide into a five-man midfield for last weekend’s defeat to Liverpool.

By contrast, the former Sunderland skipper has predominantly used a 4-3-3 system for the Black Cats Under-21s since being promoted to the role of senior development coach 12 months ago.

Ball admits he has had little chance to work on a playing philosophy after just 10 days in the job, but is keen to avoid a rigid formation if he is appointed permanent Sunderland head coach.

“As each game goes on and each team – and individuals – you come up against, the system might change,” he said.

“You’d have a philosophy over the way you want to do things in time and you might have a set system, but one that can react for certain opposition.

“In time, I’d love to be able to do that.

“But at the moment, I’ve only had a few days with them and it’s important they’re in a system they understand and are comfortable with and where they know how to play the game.”

Ball’s future remains uncertain with Sunderland continuing their search for a long-term successor to Di Canio.

But Ball will be in charge for Saturday’s visit of Manchester United and he admits he is enjoying the challenging role.

He added: “You do enjoy it. You sit down and you might have 10 minutes when you have a cup of coffee and go ‘what’s just happened?’.

“It is a busy week, but you do enjoy it.

“There will always be bits that you think are a pain in the backside, but that’s life.

“I enjoy my football anyway. I enjoy coaching and doing what I do with the 21s.

“It’s not an illogical step. It’s not like I’ve come from the wilderness and all of a sudden someone has brought me back in.

“I’m doing a job very similar to this anyhow so it’s not such a massive transition.”