Simon Grayson says Sunderland have moved on from Darron Gibson's outburst last weekend, and that the Irish international does still have a future at the club.
The 29-year-old faced an internal disciplinary proceedure after implying that some of his team-mates did not want to play for the club.
Grayson was unimpressed by the remarks but admitted he was aware some players were keen to leave the club following relegation.
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion, people are not always going to get on with their work colleagues, whether it be in football, the media or wherever, what you’ve got to do is be respectful of people when you work with them and get on with them. What Darron said wasn’t right, the manner he spoke about colleagues, but ultimately he said it, we’ve dealt with it and we’ve always said that if players don’t want to be here, I don’t want them anyway.
"It didn’t need Darron to come out and make these points, I’m aware of situations of certain players that maybe don’t want to be here anyway," he added.
"There’s never a good time to have poor publicity as a football club but what you do have to do is deal with it quickly, decide on your appropriate action, move on and focus on the football."
Gibson is likely to be in the squad when the season begins on Friday night and Grayson is expecting a tough challenge.
He said: "When you look at Derby, they've spent a huge amount of money over a couple seasons now and will have been disappointed to not really be anywhere near the top end of the division. Gary [Rowett] has had plenty of time now to get his ideas across, so we know we're in for a tough game and they are a genuine contender. There's no easy games in the Championship, if you do you'll get unstuck."