David Moyes: Slap row surprised me but wasn’t a distraction

David Moyes during the Leicester game
David Moyes during the Leicester game
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David Moyes’ week went from bad to worse after Leicester City beat Sunderland 2-0 to leave the club eight points adrift of safety with just eight games to go.

But the under-fire Sunderland boss says the storm over his comments to a female BBC reporter did not prove a distraction in the build-up.

Sunderland chiefs labelled his comments “wholly unacceptable” but gave the apologetic Scot their full support ahead of the Leicester defeat amid widespread condemnation of his comments.

Moyes, whose side are marooned and one step closer to Championship football, said he was “surprised” by the level of coverage but was grateful for the backing from his bosses.

When asked whether it had been a difficult 48 hours, Moyes said: “I have been surprised in many ways but I have done my job, prepared the players and organised them and got the best possible team out to try and win it.

“We have watched a lot of videos of Leicester, we did all of our preparation to get the best result.”

Moyes added: “I think the world of football is a great business now. It employs an incredible amount of people, whether it be in the media or in the training grounds.

“For that reason football is a big talking point.

“It wasn’t difficult at all [to concentrate on the match].

“I went about my job, prepared the players and did everything I would for a normal game.

“It was great to get that support from the club. I expected it.”

The 53-year-old Scot issued a public apology to BBC Newcastle and Radio Five Live reporter Vicki Sparks on Monday after video footage emerged of a controversial exchange between the pair following a post-match interview where he said she “might get a slap”.

Ahead of last night’s game, the Black Cats issued a statement confirming their position on the matter and offering their continued backing to Moyes.

It read: “Sunderland AFC would like to reiterate the actions taken following the Burnley game on March 18.

“The exchange between the manager and a BBC reporter was wholly unacceptable and such actions are not condoned or excused in any way.

“David recognised this immediately, proactively bringing the matter to the attention of the CEO (Martin Bain) and apologising to the reporter. The club also spoke with both a senior figure at the BBC and the reporter personally, expressing its profound regret over what had occurred.

“The matter was treated with the utmost seriousness from the outset and the swift and decisive action taken by the club and the manager at the time ensured that it was resolved to the satisfaction of the reporter and the BBC, which was the priority.

“With both the BBC and the reporter agreeing that appropriate action had been taken at the time, the club continues to fully support David in his role as manager of Sunderland AFC.”

The FA have written to Sunderland to get their observations on the matter.