Pascal Chimbonda believes it will be hard for Sunderland to beat the drop - and says that Ellis Short needs to sell up.
Former Sunderland defender Chimbonda thinks the Black Cats' long-term situation won't improve unless they get a new owner.
And he says while Chris Coleman has been dealt a tough hand, only Sam Allardyce could keep the club up.
Chimbonda, speaking in an interview with BetStars, also gives his verdict on the managerial style of Roy Keane, who brought him to Wearside. Here's what he had to say:
Q: Sunderland are having a tough time, can they avoid relegation?
Chimbonda: “It’s going to be tough for them. The players’ heads are down, and there aren’t many games left. They need to freshen up their style, and it’s going to be really hard for them to avoid relegation, but I would like to see them do it.”
Q: Why have Sunderland been so poor this season?
Chimbonda: “They were relegated from the Premier League and kept players like Lee Cattermole, John O’Shea who hadn’t played in the Championship, and it’s a different style to the Premier League. I think they need experienced Championship players, who have played in the Championship for many years, take these players and give the youngsters some opportunities to play.”
Q: What do you think of Chris Coleman?
Chimbonda: “He’s a good manager, but he hasn’t been able to choose his players and it’s tough coming into a club who are having a difficult time. It’s hard for a manager to come and change things, only Sam Allardyce can do things like this! He still hasn’t spoken to the chairman since he’s been there, and that’s really hard for him, I don’t know how that’s happened.”
Q: Where do they need to improve in the summer?
Chimbonda: “They need to strengthen their defence but they also need a striker as you need a guy in the team scoring goals. They need a striker, they need midfielders, and they will need players with League One experience.”
Q: What appeal does Sunderland have to new owners?
Chimbonda: “It’s still a huge club and the fans are unbelievable, the stadium is unbelievable, they need to change the board as it doesn’t even seem to be them picking the coach. I think they need to sell the club and let someone who likes football take over, who will enjoy the games.”
Q: How did you find Roy Keane as a manager?
Chimbonda: “I liked it because he told things straight, if you played badly he told you and if you played good he also told you. If you didn’t do the job right he told you. He’s straight with you, he’s a manager who would tell you why you weren’t playing. That’s a manager I love, I like his character, he’s a winning guy, he doesn’t like to lose. He’s a big character, I loved it when he was at Sunderland. I played well sometimes under Roy, but I also played badly sometimes, like I said he’s a manager who told you when you did well or when you did badly.”