Corry Evans explains why Sunderland's players are well equipped to deal with Alex Neil's departure

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Sunderland captain Corry Evans believes the squad are well equipped to deal with uncertainty off the field following the departure of head coach Alex Neil.

Neil left Wearside to finalise his move to Stoke just a day before the Black Cats’ Championship fixture against Norwich, meaning assistant Martin Canning took charge against the Canaries.

Sunderland were beaten 1-0 at the Stadium of Light, following Josh Sargent’s 76th-minute winner, but were extremely unfortunate to come away empty handed after a spirited display.

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The Black Cats were caught off guard by Neil’s abrupt departure and will now consider who is the best candidate to replace the Scot.

Sunderland captain Corry Evans.Sunderland captain Corry Evans.
Sunderland captain Corry Evans.

Still, they will hope to make an appointment sooner than the 13 days it took to replace former boss Lee Johnson back in February.

“Probably last season was a good experience for ourselves with the sacking of Lee Johnson,” said Evans when reflecting on the team’s performance against Norwich. “We probably didn’t apply ourselves well enough in the games that followed but that experience has probably helped us for this one.

“We’ve grown as a group over the last season and a lot of young boys have gained a lot of experience now playing a lot of games. Last season was maybe their first season in football but they’ve been through a lot already.

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“We just have to keep moving and not let it affect us in any way.”

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Winning promotion at Wembley via the play-offs also strengthened the camaraderie within Sunderland’s squad after overcoming a difficult period.

That momentum has continued into the Championship, and the Black Cats have held their own in the opening six league games this campaign.

“We’ve been through a lot together as a squad and probably the pressures that come with this club you have to remain tight-knit in the dressing room and stick together,” Evans added.

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“If you lose that togetherness in the dressing room it will go wrong.

“You just have to stick together and it makes you stronger as a unit and as a group.”

The Black Cats will now prepare for Wednesday’s home match against Rotherham, before a trip to Middlesbrough next month.

Defeat against Norwich means Sunderland have taken eight points from their first six league games of the season.