Joey Barton delivers an extraordinary press conference ahead of clash with 'superb' Sunderland
Joey Barton has delivered an extraordinary press conference ahead of Sunderland’s clash with Bristol Rovers – during which he blasted his predecessors.
The 38-year-old is aiming to steer the Gas away from the relegation zone, with the side currently two points adrift of safety.
And Barton offered a scathing review of what happened before his arrival in his most recent press conference, saying his squad have been ‘set up for failure’ because of previous decisions.
"These lads haven’t had a chance,” he said.
“Whatever has gone before me has been negligent. If they were doctors, they should certainly be struck off for what’s gone on here before, but we can’t do anything about that.
“At some point those coaches will probably want to take me to task on that and I’ll have absolutely no issue in showing them exactly what they got wrong and where they got it wrong, and they’ll be better coaches for it, so if they want to get on the phone and have a conversation with me, no problem at all, but the job that’s been done before we got here is negligent and they’ve set these boys up for failure and we’ve got to try to reverse that trend.
“They’re a good set of lads, they care about the club and they care about getting better, but you forget that they’re young, they’re getting battered on social media.”
“We know the work you have to do, you can’t cut corners, you can’t just decide when a new guy turns up and he’s got spectacles on and a funny hat that for four weeks you’re going to work hard and become the best player you can,” he continued.
"You have to respect the process.
“That’s why pre-season’s so vital, that’s why training every single day and session is vital, and these lads haven’t had a chance.”
But Barton is still intent on turning the tide at the Memorial Stadium, but knows it will be a tough ask given his side are facing a tricky run-in.
Nonetheless, he has set his side a points target to hit in order to have a chance of avoiding the drop.
“We’ve been here nine games, won two, drawn one, lost six and on that trajectory for the next nine games we’re not going to be in the division, so we’re going to have to improve,” he admitted.
"If we can turn two of those losses into wins and two of those into draws and if you win four, draw three and only lose two or three then you’ve got a sniff, you’ve got a fighting chance.
“That’s what we’ve got to focus on, but the problem for us is we play a superb team in Sunderland who are bang in form, who are trying to get out of the division and they will not be feeling sorry for us. They will be attacking us from the get go on Saturday I’m sure when the game kicks off.”