Alim Ozturk reveals the biggest difference Phil Parkinson has made at Sunderland

Sunderland defender Alim Ozturk believes playing with a back three has suited the Black Cats this season.

Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 2:25 pm

After taking over at the Stadium of Light in October, manager Phil Parkinson altered the side’s formation just a couple of months later.

Since then, Sunderland have fought their way back into the League One promotion race, winning eight of their last 10 games and keeping eight clean sheets.

Ozturk has played a part in that run while enjoying the challenge of playing in a new system.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sunderland defender Alim Ozturk has enjoyed playing in a back three this season.

When asked what the biggest differences have been under Parkinson, Ozturk told the Echo: “The system we now play 3-5-2, a lot of people call it a 5-3-2 but I call it 3-5-2 because you see we play most of the parts of the game with three at the back.

“That’s a big change and he gives you confidence, he’s an experienced manager and I think the system is really important.

“We have the players to play this formation and it works well. I like it to be fair, I’ve always played in a four-man defence but I’m happy now in a 3-5-2.

“If you win games everything is fine.”

Ozturk, 27, joined Sunderland from Turkish club Boluspor in the summer of 2018 and admits it took a while to adjust.

“I was in Turkey and in this league there is a lot more fight,” added Ozturk when discussing the challenges of League One.

“We try to play as well in this team, that’s what I like as well but the league in general is a more physical league.

“I like that part as well but if you look at how big the club is with the facilities I think we need to go up as quick as possible.

“In my last season I had to get used to it but I think I finished well.

“This is a new season, new chances and I think it’s going well at the moment. I didn’t play the last few games but I think the run before I did really well.

“I’m happy at the moment but you want to play games.”