Chris Coleman admits he doesn’t have a ‘bag of magic’ to instantly solve Sunderland’s problems, but he has pinpointed recruitment as an area that must improve.
Relegation to League One is a real threat, but the new man is keen to bring with him a wave of positivity and says he couldn’t turn down the chance to manage a club of Sunderland’s ‘magnitude’.
Coleman isn’t thinking about relegation and he is confident the squad – four points adrift at the foot of the Championship – will pull away from danger.
He spoke in passionate and glowing terms about Sunderland when he was unveiled at the Academy of Light.
Coleman, speaking ahead of tonight’s trip to Aston Villa, said: “When a club of this stature comes along and says, ‘Would you fancy it?’ My thought is, ‘Yeah, absolutely’.
“100 per cent because it’s a huge football club, and that’s the magnet for me. The size of the club.
“I’ve been here when they’ve been playing well and riding high. It’s electric. We’re always going to be chasing that and why shouldn’t we? There are 47,000 fans. They’re not all here at the minute, maybe half of that, but they’re waiting.
“They’re waiting for something to happen because they want to come back. Here, somebody has to get it right sooner or later. Or get it going in the right direction.
“When that happens, this is the type of place you want to be – and you want to be part of something of this magnitude.”
Coleman, though, is honest enough to admit it won’t happen overnight.
He added: “I have not come up here with a bag of magic. The fact is it is going to be hard work, a grind.
“It is a good test for myself because we have to find a way of working with what we have got to find a way of moving them from where they are.”
The January window is just round the corner and Coleman knows funds are severely limited.
The last set of published accounts showed the club’s debt stood at around £110million with just £1.25million spent in the summer.
When asked whether the bleak financial picture was a concern before accepting the job, Coleman said: “I look at it and think I have got to stimulate the situation and get people excited.
“We will do that by getting away from our current position.
“Once we do that and I am confident we will do that, then I think maybe we can go to Martin [Bain] and say “look, we have a chance now to take it to another level, but we need a little bit of investment.”
“At the moment, we are not there yet. I do look at what we have got, the squad we have got.
“Is it enough to get us away from where we are and when they are all fit and ready, yes, I think yes.
“Whether or not that is going to be enough to take us to another level, I have only been here 24 hours so I need to look at that a bit closer.
“But if we are in that position where I think we need a bit of investment here and there and it could make a big difference, then of course, I will have a chat with Martin.
“I am not going to pull punches. One area we need to look at is recruitment.
“We need to improve on that and it is something Martin and I have spoken about and something we really need to concentrate on.
“It is not about having £10m and throwing it at one player.
“We have to gauge if he is a Sunderland-type player, what he is like. We will do our due diligence on every player.
“We do not want to sign someone on 24-hours notice and get burnt.
“So, it is something we have to look at as a club and we need to improve it. If that is the case, I would have confidence in Martin and the chairman.
“If I said to them, “I have shown you a little glimpse of what can happen, now these are the solutions.”
The first priority for the former Wales, Fulham and Coventry boss is to pull Sunderland away from relegation danger.
“Safety from where we are. That’s the aim,” added Coleman.
“The sooner we get away from where we are, we can set a new target. To be bottom of the league after 17 games and start setting unrealistic goals, I don’t like doing that.
“What we’ve got to do is get away from where we are, otherwise we will be in a relegation battle.
“We’ve got a lot of games, a lot of points to play for. We’ve got a lot to get right.
“We’re in no position to think about what happens five or ten games down the line. We’re in no position to look beyond the next game.
“That’s what we’ve got to concentrate on, we’ve got to take it step by step.
“This is not a place to be if you haven’t got heart.
“If you haven’t got heart and courage then you need that at this football club, there has been plenty of negativity happening here, but this will probably be the biggest club I will ever manage,” added Coleman, who is moving his family to the region.