Boss Chris Coleman opens up on Sunderland disappointments and how he can turn it around

Callum McManaman sits down for lunch with Sunderland's new intake of Under-9s players.
Callum McManaman sits down for lunch with Sunderland's new intake of Under-9s players.

Chris Coleman admits his failure to have a significant impact on Sunderland’s results has been a major disappointment.

A promising start gave way to familiar failings and, with the Black Cats now eight points from safety, his first target of keeping the team in the Championship looks to be beyond him.

Asked if he shpuld have had a bigger impact, the ex-Wales boss said: “Yeah, I think that’s fair.

“The first 12 games, we were going towards where we needed to be. I think we were averaging one win in three, which is about where we needed to be.

“We then had a 10-game patch where really, the wheels came off and we couldn’t win a game.

“I won’t talk about suspensions or injuries ... I did expect to expect to have a better impact.

“To be fair as well, one transfer window with no money, I don’t think that is enough to put to bed all the problems that are here.

“They run deeper than that. It will take longer to put it right.

“I hope I get the time to do it, but, look, it is a results industry. Fingers are pointed and I accept that.”

Despite those disappointments, Coleman remains committed to the rebuilding job ahead at the Stadium of Light.

He is desperate for clarity over the club’s ownership situation, but insists he does not need a ‘King’s ransom’ to turn things around in the near future.

He said: “100 per cent, rebuilding from scratch is what I dream about.

“It’s frustrating because I can see how I’d do it, what needs to be done.

“I know how to build a team, I know how to build the togetherness, and there are a lot of good people here, good staff here, passionate people.

“But to build it all is tough without finance.

“We probably wouldn’t need a King’s ransom – not for stage one, anyway – I just think if we can get stage one right, get the club into a positive state, then that whole positive vibe will go throughout the city and the supporters will start to look at us differently.

“I’d love to be a part of that, I absolutely would.

“I’ve said before, it’s not about the division we are in. What I need to know is who is going to be here and what the plans are.

“I want to be a part of that, but I think that, ultimately, that won’t be my choice.

“As tough as it is, it is still Sunderland Football Club to me.

“If we drop and we have the same owner and he doesn’t want to put any more money in, then, yes, there is a conversation.

“If I think can we still make an impact in the league below with what we’ve got, that will be a conversation.

“It is hard for me to talk about Ellis (Short) because I haven’t spoken to the man. I know what his plans are, to sell the club.

“If he can’t sell and we drop, I still want to manage Sunderland. I would like to have a crack at putting something together to do something in that league.

“It won’t be easy, but is is very doable.

“It is not about which league we are in, it is about who is here and who has a plan and is it a good one?

“All that anybody has to do who buys this club is look at it, the last four or five years, and do it completely different.

“That is what they have to do. That is my opinion. If they share that with me, brilliant.”

Sunderland – who visit Leeds United tomorrow (3pm) – could be relegated as soon as Tuesday, although that relies on an unlikely set of results across the division.

Coleman has nevertheless been encouraged by what he has seen in the last two games – against Derby and Sheffield Wednesday – and hopes that it signals his team moving closer to how he wants them to play.

He said: “We’ve been too conservative.

“If you look at the best teams, they always defend in numbers and they are hard to break down, but when they break they break with real intensity, send bodies forward, and they are very aggressive in going to score one goal, and then a second and a third.

“Sometimes we have scored a goal and then tried to hang on to that.

“That’s the worst way to try and hold onto it really, to try and defend for long periods.

“I’ve been critical of the lads for doing that, but, in the last two games, we have come out of our shell a bit more, we’ve attacked and sent bodies forward.

“We’ve created more opportunities and that’s what we have got to do, whatever our fate is.

“Our fate won’t be sealed on Saturday.

“What we can do is make people above us uncomfortable and we can do that with another gutsy performance.”