Michael Beale hits out at Sunderland 'negativity' and 'lack of respect' in remarkable press conference
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Michael Beale has hit out at what he claims is 'negativity' towards his Sunderland side and claimed his journey in football 'deserves more respect' after a week of intense criticism.
Beale has lost his last three games in charge and just over a month into his tenure, many fans have called for change. There were chants of 'we want Beale out' during and after the 1-0 defeat to Hull City, with supporters concerned about the direction of the team following Tony Mowbray's departure.
The Sunderland head coach took aim at much of the criticism in his pre-match press conference, saying that a lot of it is personal and not related to results or performances. The comments are likely to raise the tension further still ahead of Stoke City's visit to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon. Beale also took aim at Mowbray's record towards the end of his tenure on Wearside, insisting that recent performances have not been bad despite recent defeats.
"If anyone at looks at my CV, I've worked for massive football clubs so I get the expectations, that's no problem," Beale said, asked about the impact the criticism had had on him over the last fortnight.
"People didn't want me here in the first place. We can say afterwards that it's about style of this or style of that, let's be honest and cut to the chase, people didn't want me so I'll come and do the work and ultimately, we'll win games or we won't. That's the reality, there wasn't a feel-good factor about me coming in which is fine, you get on with the work and I'm not crying over it. I'm a big boy and I'm experienced.
"Personal things, I think when people are personal... if people want to criticise the way the team is playing, I'll take that. The last two games I actually think that we've played against two good football teams in this league, and they weren't better than us. That's my view and I'm allowed that view. I think if we had a bit more presence in the final third or one of the players that is injured wasn't, I think we'd have won at least one of, if not both of those games. That's my view and I'm allowed it.
"If it's about job I'm doing then it's about the job, but if it's about anything else... listen I can't change my accent or where I'm from.
"That's where I'm from and I'm proud of where I'm from. If it's about football then fine but I feel I deserve a little bit more respect because my journey deserves that. But people if don't want to give it, fine, I have to get on with the job. If you spend 16 years at Chelsea and Liverpool then you know what expectation is and what it's like, I'm a young coach who went across to Brazil so I'm not worried about taking on pressure and expectation. I've just been at a massive football club before I came to this massive football club.
"I replaced a popular manager but I didn't sack him, did I? And he'd won two in nine before he left, so are we making out now that it was all perfect? I think over the seven games, I'd have liked us to have had a couple of better results so I can accept that. There's no doubt about that and I'm happy to be judged on the team on the pitch, but I still feel that I inherited a team two points off the play-offs, now it's three. We've been in the top six in the last couple of weeks, we've lost two tough games but I didn't think the performances were terrible - anyone who is saying they are, I can't get on board on that. I just think you're throwing negativity at the youngest team in the league with one of the lowest budgets in the league, I think you're throwing negativity at a team that doesn't deserve it. Sometimes I could say less and be less honest but that's not the sort of bloke I am, but I think people need to get behind this team."
Beale insisted that he was confident the work he was doing behind the scenes would lead to positive results, and says he retains the backing of the club's hierarchy.
"I spoke to Kyril and the club a lot before I came in about what they wanted and why they were making the change, and behind the scenes we're doing a lot of really, really good work," Beale said.
"We haven't seen the harvest of that yet but I think it will, I've got a strong belief in this group of players. I've got a strong belief in this group of players, there's nothing to aim at them at all. I look at a group of players who are giving everything and I think the last two games were really harsh on us. If we'd won one and lost one I think that would have been fairer, if we'd have drawn two that would have been fairer. Would the noise have been the same?
"It probably would because people didn't want me here in the first place, so I just have to get on the job. If we continue to show the work we're doing behind the scenes, then we're going to win more games that not.
"I've got great support from Kyril and Kristjaan, we've very honest and frank each with other and we talk a lot about the day-to-day running of the club. I can't talk about why the club made the change, but there was obviously a reason for it and I'm working away at the areas that the board have asked me to improve."
Earlier, Beale had defended his tactical approach and explained why some of the fluidity of the side had recently been lost. You can read that piece here.