‘It’s not good at all’: Grant Leadbitter’s scathing verdict on Sunderland’s current situation

Grant Leadbitter’s solemn expression said it all.

The Sunderland skipper faced the media after the defeat at Scunthorpe United, and his verdict was a scathing one.

“You have to use each defeat in the right way, but it's not good. It's not good at all.

“Sunderland coming to Scunthorpe and losing 3-0, it's not good at all.

Sunderland skipper Grant Leadbitter

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“But one thing as a group of players, we have to stick together.”

That message of sticking together was a key one from Leadbitter, who repeated his pledge to help unite the squad throughout a passionate interview in the aftermath of the defeat.

Barely half an hour before, Leadbitter and his teammates had trudged off the pitch to chants of ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ from pockets of the travelling support.

That, says the Sunderland captain, needs to hurt.

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"Losing football matches should hurt you as a player, and if it doesn't then I'm disappointed.

“I'm pretty sure it's hurting everyone. It's not nice. Sunderland fans are angry, we're losing football matches in League One and then tonight.

“We have to move forward. That's the only thing you can do.

“We have to make sure everyone from top to bottom is together, no negativity, and we're positive.”

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But while keen for positivity on Wearside, the midfielder is refusing to shy away from some sub-standard showings of late - and won’t accept any excuses.

“Yes the fans are angry, no problem,” he added.

“That happens in football and the only thing you can do is keep moving forward. You can't look back.

“Tonight, was it a 3-0 game? I don't think it was. We should have had a penalty, but I'm certainly not making excuses.

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“I won't shy away from the fact that the last couple of weeks hasn't been good enough from this group of players and one thing we will do is stick together.

“I'll be driving that message and maybe a bit of honesty back into the football club is what we need.”

"Difficult periods come when you don't get results, ultimately that's where difficult periods come from,” he continued.

“The last seven to ten days we haven't got those results, so one thing we have to do is make sure we get results because I want to get this club out of League One.

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“That's our sole focus, let's be honest.”

Leadbiiter has experienced plenty during his two spells at the Stadium of Light, but a defeat to a struggling League Two side is even a new concept for the 33-year-old.

Indeed, the Black Cats have won just twice since Phil Parkinson’s appointment - and the midfielder believes ‘changes’ at the club may have contributed to the form of late.

“There's been changes at the football club,” said Leadbitter.

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“One thing we all do is get used to different ideas and we're taking them onboard.

“I'm looking forward to the next few days on the training pitch as it's been a busy schedule. I'm looking forward to working hard.”

But before that hard work can begin, Leadbitter is keen to draw a line under a disappointing evening at Glanford Park.

Although, he’s keen to ensure that the players use the hurt felt in Lincolnshire to spur them on ahead of some crucial fixture in League One.

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"All proper people look at themselves, absolutely, but as a group of players we know we want to do better and I'm certain we will.

“I've been through these times in my career before and I think I'm old enough and wise enough.

“But as players we can certainly go away from tonight and look forward to moving on - but make sure it hurts you.

“Losing football matches has to hurt and if it doesn't hurt you then... it has to hurt. We'll move on, but in the back of your mind you have to think that losing games isn't good - especially at Sunderland football club.”

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Sunderland now have at least a week before they will take to the field in a competitive fixture - but what must they do over that period to turn the tide?

For Leadbitter, the focus is clear. Togetherness must prevail.

“I think, from my experience, honesty, sticking together is a big factor that I believe.

“The past couple of weeks haven't been great for the football club with disappointing results, but you do have that.

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“I believe that Sunderland football club, and as a group of players, that the only way we will get through this is by working harder on the training pitch and by sticking together. And I'm sure we will.

“We've got a few days on the training pitch now and no game on Saturday, which I believe is a good time to go and work hard and instil that message into the squad.”