Ex-Sunderland boss Peter Reid delivers verdict on Alex Neil and says club must back their head coach

Former Sunderland boss Peter Reid says the club must back Alex Neil if they are to be competitive in the Championship next season.

Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 6:00 am

Reid was in attendance as the Black Cats beat Wycombe 2-0 at Wembley in the League One play-off final, courtesy of goals from Elliot Embleton and Ross Stewart.

The result ended Sunderland’s four-year stay in the third tier, with the team going on a 16-match unbeaten run to win promotion.

And Reid, who spent seven and a half years at the club between 1995 and 2002, says Neil deserves huge credit, while he also picked out Alex Pritchard and Patrick Roberts for their performances in the final.

Peter Reid spent seven and a half years at the club between 1995 and 2002 Photo: Gary M. Prior/ALLSPORT

“I thought they were tremendous,” Reid told the Echo when asked about Sunderland’s promotion. “They were solid at the back.

“I think Alex Neil has done a magnificent job, I thought Pritchard played well, Roberts played really well, but in general he’s just made them hard to beat and they always keep going and that typified it at Wembley.

“The support was brilliant, the team was brilliant and the manager was brilliant.”

Reid won two promotions with Sunderland in 1996 and 1999, while he also led the Black Cats to back-to-back seventh-placed finishes in the Premier League in 2000 and 2001.

The former Black Cats boss is, therefore, well aware of the challenges promotion will bring, yet Reid believes Neil is a good fit at the Stadium of Light.

“He’s strong and you have to stay with your convictions and he has done that,” Reid added when discussing Neil’s managerial qualities.

“He’s done a great job wherever he’s been, if you look at Norwich and Preston, he’s been in Scotland where he started off at Hamilton. He’s done a great job and he’s a very, very good manager.

“The club have to back him now in the Championship and the ultimate for Sunderland – I’m telling all Sunderland fans how to suck eggs here – they need to get in the Premier League.

“It’s a tough league the Championship but if you back him you’ve got a chance.

“When you go up in leagues it’s a massive step up but you’ve got to back him and have confidence in him.”