Tuesday 23 January 2018

David Moyes insists he can handle the pressure at Sunderland

David Moyes is confident he is big enough to handle the challenge of turning Sunderland around
David Moyes is confident he is big enough to handle the challenge of turning Sunderland around

David Moyes has insisted he is big enough to handle the pressure of implementing a long-term plan at Sunderland in the face of yet another battle for Premier League survival.

The 53-year-old has endured an eventful week in the wake of a 2-0 defeat at Stoke which left the Black Cats rooted to the foot of the table, a depressingly familiar situation in recent seasons.

Sources on Wearside have dismissed claims that a Chinese consortium is ready to reinstall Sam Allardyce as manager should it mount a successful takeover bid - it is understood informal exploratory talks foundered some time ago - and Moyes and new chief executive Martin Bain remain firmly focused on their blueprint.

And having experienced the pressure of an all-too-brief reign as Manchester United manager, the Scot is confident he can shoulder the burden.

He said: "I'm big enough. I've seen it and I know what it's like. I don't like it, but you have got to go with it. That's what you have to do, it's part of the job.

"The plan is to first of all make everybody realise that there is a long-term plan and get away from the thought that it's going to be something other than that, so we are working together to change things.

"Martin is doing an awful lot of things behind the scenes which won't necessarily always be noticed because obviously, what you will really judge us on is what you see on the grass at the moment. I'm the one who has got to get the bit on the grass right."

Bain admitted in an interview with Sunderland's official website this week that the club had lost its identity after a traumatic few years, and that is something both he and Moyes are keen to rediscover.

The manager, who takes his side to West Ham on Saturday, said: "It's based in the north east, it has to come from the north east. It has to come from the supporters, it has to come from the people around here and there's got to be an engagement of the people as well.

"We certainly know how badly they're hurting and what it has been like, and we're doing everything we can to put it right."

Moyes has also had to contend with headlines suggesting striker Jermain Defoe had taken a swipe at him after admitting the club had gone backwards since his arrival.

Defoe said: "From where we were last season towards the end, I feel we've gone backwards a little bit."

But Moyes, whose players held clear-the-air talks this week in a bid to kick-start their season, agreed to an extent with the former England international.

He said: "I actually thought that Jermain's piece was a wee bit taken out of context, but in saying that, where the team finished at the end of last season to where we have started this season, yes, you'd have to say that.

"The same players were in the same position this time last season, but I do think compared to where they finished I'd say yes, because they were winning a few games and picking up some points. At the moment, we're not doing that."

Press Association

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