Sunderland boss David Moyes has restated his commitment to the club’s rebuilding project, insisting that he will not walk away.
A disastrous set of midweek results has left the Black Cats 10 points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, with the Premier League visit of Manchester United to the Stadium of Light tomorrow (1.30pm kick-off) meaning the situation could get even worse as the season drifts towards a conclusion.
Fan unrest has reached a crescendo following the failure to beat Burnley, Watford and Leicester City in the last three matches.
Ex-Everton and Manchester United manager Moyes has also been heavily criticised for comments made throughout the season and while he said he understood why the mood in the fan base was so low, he vowed to improve the situation and defended his approach.
Moyes said: “It’s not easy because we’re not doing well, but that’s me – I’ve got to make it better.
“In football, you have lots of highs and lows – I’ve had some really good highs, and at the moment this is a low.
“I don’t want to be bottom the league and be relegated and I’ve got to try and turn it around in the games we’ve got left.
“I think it’s difficult to keep supporters when you’re losing every week, I understand that.
“They’ve had a lot of hard seasons and want to have good times.
“I want that as well.
“We might have to go through more tough times for the good times to come back, but I’m sure they will.
“Right from the start, I told people I thought it was going to be difficult.
“It wasn’t negative, it was totally honest and up front.
“I said when I came that what you would get was honesty, sometimes people don’t want to hear it.
“Now I’m disappointed we’re in the situation we’re in, but I think when I saw the squad and what was available to us, because I’m experienced and with the length of time I’ve spent in football, the teams I’ve managed and the players I’ve seen, I could only look at this and see a difficult season.
“Injuries didn’t help us, coming at different times in the season.”
Sunderland’s form has dipped considerably in recent times, without a goal or a positive result since the 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace on February 4.
That has seen them cut adrift at the bottom, but Moyes still believes the key factor in Sunderland’s perilous position was a wretched start to the season, with the Black Cats not winning a league game until November 5.
Moyes said: “I never thought it would be as huge a reconstruction, but I always thought, when I joined, that we needed to make sure we never got into this situation again.
“But, for other reasons, we’ve not been able to get away from it.
“If you wanted to look back at this season you’d have to first look back at the first 10 games. We couldn’t pick up any points. Why? Because we weren’t ready.
“There’s reasons behind that, whether you’d look at the changes in the summer and the timings, we weren’t ready which meant that we were nearly a quarter of a season before we started to get things looking even anything like it.”
Moyes defiantly defended his managerial record following recent criticism, insisting that this so far wretched season is an exception rather than the norm.
“I’ve managed 800-odd games, 400-odd in the Premer League, and I think there are only two or three managers who have won more games than me in the Premier League,” he said.
“I’m really disappointed that I am losing as many games here as I am, but I think, if you look at it and say ‘is this normal for me’, people would see that it is not.”