Simon Grayson has no regrets about taking the Sunderland job and insists he is the right man to get the club moving in the right direction.
Manager Grayson takes Sunderland to former club Preston North End today, with both clubs experiencing very different starts.
Struggling Sunderland are second-bottom after 10 games, while high-flying Preston are fifth.
“I am not having sleepless nights, but I am having restless nights because of wanting to put right and caring about this football club,” said Grayson, who enjoyed four years at Preston before leaving to replace David Moyes on Wearside.
“I had the easy option to stay at Preston and not take on this challenge, but I have never been one to have regrets in my life.
“If I had not taken this job then I would have regretted not being given the opportunity. I don’t regret coming to this football club.
“I am determined to leave the club in a better state than when I walked in – as I have done at all my other football clubs.
“My resolve is there. I am determined. I have thick elephant skin that will take criticism, I know things can change quickly.
“I don’t have anything to prove to Preston – my record speaks for itself.
“I took them over near the bottom of League One, got them promoted, steadied the ship, a debt-free club. I have a lot of affiliation with that club, from the owners, to the players, supporters.
“I made a difficult decision in the summer – I felt it was the right opportunity.”
Sunderland head into the game on the back of the 5-2 thrashing at Ipswich Town, a scoreline Grayson felt was harsh on his side.
Many observers will disagree with that, but Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy did ring Grayson to offer his support.
Grayson added: “I had Mick McCarthy ring me and he’d watched it back. He said ‘there wasn’t a lot in the game, we took our chances and played very well for the first time in a long time, you didn’t take chances and at key moments in the game we rode our luck’.
“Key moments in games are not going for us at the moment, but we all know we need to do better and work harder to achieve what we want to.
“He didn’t have to ring me, but he did and said ‘the players are playing for you, they are working, maybe not playing with the urgency and the tempo you’d like, but you will get there with your philosophy when you get your full team available.’
“It was nice to hear a manager, involved in the game for 25-years, say that.
“I know I am the right person to get this job going in the right direction.
“I always said it was going to be tough and not happen overnight, it would be a slow process and (with) some difficult moments.
“We are going through one, but why can’t we come out the other side?”