Mike Dodds on the lesson Sunderland players learned from dismal defeat - and what happens next

Mike Dodds delivered a scathing review of his team's performance against Blackburn Rovers
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Mike Dodds says his young Sunderland side have learned that they have to 'respect' the Championship after a chastening defeat to Easter Monday.

The Black Cats had brought a welcome end to their winless run with an excellent performance at Cardiff City on Good Friday, but delivered a dismal display the Stadium of Light against a Blackburn Rovers side who were winless in ten games coming into the contest. Dodds said he felt his side had got carried away with their performance in South Wales and had learned a harsh lesson of the back of the 5-1 defeat that followed.

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"You're playing for Sunderland Football Club and you have to respect that. A lot of the words that I've used since I've taken over the team are that you've got to be respectful," Dodds said.

"You have to be respectful to the league, opposition and how amazing this football club is.

"I think sometimes when young players get given opportunities - and they perform - they get a bit carried away. Sometimes I use that word to level them a little bit. What today has shown for some of our more inexperienced players is that if you don't show a level of respect you get kicked between the legs and that's what's happened to myself and the individuals in the dressing room."

Dodds said the game had been a 'humbling experience' both for himself and the team and that there would be some 'uncomfortable' conversations in the days ahead. Sunderland are back in action against Bristol City at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon. The interim head coach had told his players that if there was not an improvement in their performance, then they wouldn't be selected in the team.

"I'm really angry with them," Dodds said.

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"I took the team earlier in the season and I've obviously taken them now for six or seven games and I wouldn't say I've had the level of frustration I have right now but I go back to my mantra as a coach, the team should be reflective of a coach. If that's reflective of me then I need to have a long, hard look at myself. I don't think it is. I know deep down it isn't but at the same time when you're stood at the side of the pitch and you've had steps in the right direction and then you have a performance on Friday where there are foundations to build on then you get something unrecognisable, it's a real humbling experience.

"But it's not about me, it's about the football club and the players," he added.

"The next 48 hours, I'll watch the game back, make the decision whether it's an individual conversation or whether it will have more weight as a collective conversation. Then we need to dust ourselves down and get ready for Saturday. We have to do a huge amount more than we did there."