Chris Coleman: 'If the worst happens we have to clean everything out and start again'

The loss to Sheffield Wednesday has left Sunderland on the brink
The loss to Sheffield Wednesday has left Sunderland on the brink
Have your say

Chris Coleman has not yet given up on Sunderland's season.

While 'everything is stacked against them', the Black Cats have survived a seven-point deficit with six games to play in the Premier League.

Their next two opponents (Leeds and Norwich) have little to play for, and the two after that find themselves struggling near the foot of the table (Reading and Burton).

Nevertheless, the Sunderland boss knows the odds are long for a reason.

Most on Wearside are steeling themselves for a relegation and rightly so. Their team probably needs five wins from six to survive. They have only won six all season.

Dropping to League One is likely and Coleman knows it better than anyone.

He hopes, however, that if the worst comes, it is a catalyst for change, as it has been for some other big names in British football.

Coleman said: "Sitting here now with an eight point gap, people will have written us off.

"But if we are sitting here on Sunday they won't write us off if the gap is down to five points with five games to play, and with a home game next to play.

"Of course it's a long shot because we have only won six games all season, but strange things happen in football.

"It could happen, it might, but we just have to make sure that if there's a chance, we take it.

"We did that against Derby, brilliant, but we couldn't back it up against Sheffield Wednesday.

"But at least against Sheffield Wednesday, we didn't come off having missed it, not performed – we had a go, we just couldn't get the points

"Whatever happens we'll have to start afresh.

"In the long run that could be a positive," he added.

"Of course in the short term it is very difficult, a relegation feels like a disaster, especially because it is back-to-back.

"We don’t want it to happen, we want to build from the Championship, but if the worst comes to the worst, it will hurt in the short-term but sometimes you need to go there to come back again.

"If you look at Wolves, look at Blackburn, Southampton, they’ve cleaned everything out and started again.

"The experience is not nice but they got results out of it. We can’t give up yet though, there is still a chance."

Coleman knows the psychological impact of another relegation will be massive and that morale will plummet even further than it is has done during this wretched season.

His message, however, is clear.

It will not be the end for Sunderland and if things are done properly, it could be used as the start of something better.

He said: "Our fans don't want to be part of a relegation season, especially having just had one, they want to be part of a successful football club.

"They want to see their club in a positive state, in a positive state of mind, and clearly we haven't got that at the minute.

"There are all sorts of battles being fought.

"Nobody wants to be a part of a relegation because it's failure.

"But if that's what we are faced with, if you look at some big clubs like Wolves and Southampton, they have dropped out of the Championship and bounced back in spectacular fashion.

"If it happens, it's not the end of Sunderland AFC – absolutely not," he added.

"In the short-term it's sore, it's tough, it's a big thing to handle, but it doesn't mean that in the long-term that good things won't happen here.

"A lot needs to happen for good things to happen, but it will – I've said that all along.

"I hope it's with me – it may not be, but I hope it is with me.

"The club won't always be on the edge of cliff, doom and gloom.

"I've seen clubs drop and come back, and this club is capable of doing that.

"I hope to God it doesn't drop, but if that's our fate then we can still fight back from it."