Simon Grayson reveals his honest verdict on Phil Parkinson and his Sunderland return

Simon Grayson believes Phil Parkinson will know ‘exactly what he needs to do’ as he bids to turn around Sunderland’s fortunes.

The Black Cats have now gone eight games without a win, but Grayson - who knows Parkinson and his backroom staff well - believes the 51-year-old will be aware of the task ahead.

Grayson knows the pressure at the Stadium of Light better than most but believes Parkinson would have been ‘pleased’ with his side’s latest showing.

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“Phil knows exactly what he needs to do,” said the former Sunderland chief, speaking after the 1-1 draw with Blackpool.

Simon Grayson has reflected on his Sunderland returnSimon Grayson has reflected on his Sunderland return
Simon Grayson has reflected on his Sunderland return

“He's working really hard, I'm sure. I know him really well and I know his staff and they'll be doing their upmost to try and turn it around.

“That's all any manager tries to do. Obviously the expectancy level is high and the pressure can build, but I think he'll be pleased with his players today.”

The stalemate was Grayson’s first return to Wearside since being sacked in 2017, with the Black Cats now possessing almost an entirely different squad to that which were in place when he departed.

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But the former Leees boss insists he didn’t approach the game any differently despite his previous allegiance.

“It was just a normal game for us, to be fair,” added Grayson.

“I had no issues with anything coming back. It's part of history and I wanted to come back here and win a match, like I did last week at Fleetwood.

“I'm slightly disappointed that we haven't won after the good start we had. We probably just didn't do enough at the top end of the pitch.

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“It's been nice to see a lot of staff that I probably didn't get the chance to see when I left the football club because I was ushered away very quickly.

“But it's a new group. There's only a few players here now that I was working with and one of them was obviously sent home earlier in the week.

“Look, it's nice to see a lot of people and we got a result which I'm happy about.”