'The attitude was really poor': Simon Grayson's brutal verdict on his Sunderland squad - and why he doesn't regret moving to Wearside
Simon Grayson has offered a brutal verdict on the squad he inherited at Sunderland in 2017 – claiming he could sense the unrest at the Academy of Light ‘within days’.
Grayson was appointed to the Stadium of Light hotseat in the summer of 2017 as the Black Cats targeted an instant return to the Premier League.
But things didn’t go to plan for the former Leeds United and Blackpool boss, who was sacked in October with Sunderland languishing at the wrong end of the table.
His successor, Chris Coleman, was also unable to stave off the threat of relegation with the Wearsiders ultimately suffering a second successive drop.
And it came as little surprise to Grayson, who could sense the unrest at the club as soon as he arrived.
Indeed, he questioned the attitude of the players he inherited – suggesting some quite clearly did not want to remain at Sunderland.
“Within days I could sense things weren’t right,” he said, speaking to the EFL Podcast.
“You could just sense the unrest among the group, plenty of players didn’t want to be there – didn’t think they deserved to play in the Championship – and so there was a lot of negativity around the place.
“And even though a lot of them were Premier League players, I genuinely thought this isn’t that good a group of players.
“Compared to the lads I’d just left at Preston who would run through a brick wall for you, the attitude of some of the lads at Sunderland was really poor at times.”
So does Grayson regret swapping his secure post at Deepdale for a short-lived spell in the North East?
“I don’t regret it.
“I’d have had more regret had I turned it down and the team got promoted under someone else.
“Of course, getting sacked so quickly while seeing Preston continue to develop with a large proportion of the squad that I put together [makes it hard].
“It didn’t work out how I would have liked, but I still don’t regret going.”