Mike Dodds fumes at 'pathetic' Sunderland performance in scathing verdict on what went wrong against Blackburn

Sunderland fell to a dismal 5-1 defeat against Blackburn Rovers on Monday afternoon
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Mike Dodds fumed at his Sunderland players and warned that they will lose their place in the team unless they significantly improve their performance level.

The Black Cats fell to a woeful 5-1 defeat against a struggling Blackburn Rovers side on Easter Monday, just days after it looked as if they may have turned the corner with a win over Cardiff City. Sunderland's interim head coach described the performance as 'completely unacceptable' and said that his team had 'felt sorry for themselves' after conceding the first two goals.

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Sunderland actually started the game brightly but unravelled entirely after Sammie Szmodics scored a first-half brace.

"It's a bad result and an even worse performance," Dodds said.

"It's completely unacceptable and I don't say that lightly. That's probably the best word I can find. It's a game we've got to use to demonstrate to this young group that one week you think you've cracked it, and 48 hours later you're completely humbled. I'm really, really angry. It's a completely unacceptable performance.

"We can use the turnaround in games as an excuse but there's no excuse for that. We felt sorry for ourselves, there was a huge amount I didn't like both in and out of possession, Blackburn were deserved winners and I don't like saying that on our own patch. As head coach I have to take responsibility for it, when they're back in for training there are going to be some uncomfortable conversations but they need to be had if we're to move forward. The players haven't had much of a chance to talk in there, they're under no illusions as to my thoughts: if they want to play for this football club then they're going to have to deliver a better performance than that. If they don't, they won't play."

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Dodds said both he and the players needed to use the afternoon as a learning curve and source of motivation for the games ahead.

"All the goals are our mistakes, it's a cr*p performance and I can't pick anyone out in the team that deserves any credit," he said.

"I could have subbed the whole team when I made the changes in the second half. We're going to have to reflect and use it as motivation, use it as a huge learning curve - it's completely unacceptable.

"We conceded two soft goals that were completely our fault and then we felt sorry for ourselves, I don't label it at this group very often but that has left me furious. I don't think it's completely fair to say Blackburn wanted it more but I can see why it looked and felt like that. The first two goals are completely avoidable so we leave ourselves a mountain to climb, and then we concede a minute after half time after some choice words. After that point, we looked completely sorry for ourselves and we looked pathetic if I'm honest. I have to take that because I always say the team should be a reflection of the coach, and I don't think that's a reflection of me. We're not going to sweep that under the carpet, if the players want to play for me and Sunderland football club then they are going to have to put a lot more in. If not, they won't pull the shirt on."

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