What Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray said about Amad Diallo, January transfer window and Millwall team news

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray held his pre-match press conference ahead of the Black Cats’ Championship fixture against Millwall.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Sunderland are preparing for their Championship fixture against Millwall at The Den – and head coach Tony Mowbray held his pre-match press conference on Friday.

The Black Cats have lost their last two matches against Plymouth and Huddersfield, meaning they’ve dropped to 11th in the table.

Millwall will also be looking to bounce back following consecutive defeats against Coventry and Ipswich.

Here’s what was said at the Academy of Light as Mowbray spoke to the media:

RECAP: Tony Mowbray's pre-Millwall press conference

Key Events

  • Sunderland are preparing for Saturday's Championship fixture at Millwall (3pm kick-off).
  • Black Cats boss Tony Mowbray is set to hold his pre-match press conference at 9am today.
  • Sunderland are looking to bounce back following defeats against Plymouth and Millwall.

That brings us to the end of the broadcast section of the press conference - but Mowbray has also spoken to the written press.

You can find more from the Black Cats boss over on the SAFC section of the Echo website.

Mowbray on Corry Evans and Luke O'Nien's importance

"Corry is obviously injured, he's is on his way back. His boots are on every day now but he's a miss as an experienced footballer who can resolve issues in the dressing room.

"Luke is an amazing human being and an amazing guy, a really talented footballer. Luke sometimes wants everything to be like him, and I've spoken to him about this.

"Luke is a huge footballer for our club and he's a big help to me in keeping the dressing room together."

Mowbray on Millwall test

"They have lost a couple of games and will have a real intensity about how they want to get back on track.

"We have to have a real intensity to not lose three games on the bounce. We know we are a good team in this league but have to prove it by sticking the ball in the net and winning matches."

Mowbray on Amad - could he return in January?

"You are asking the wrong person to be honest.

"I don't know what the plans are for January at the moment, we haven't really discussed it yet.

"I would imagine if he's going to be fit he'll be going off to the Africa Cup of Nations. I don't think he'd be available for the whole of January.

"Let's see what the club are thinking of how we are doing by then."

Mowbray on expectations

"I've been here over a year now and I hope the people have enjoyed the football and the team.

"I know they have had some tough times in League One. It wasn't me who got them out of League One of course.

"I know on the back of a sixth-place finish last year there is a big expectation. A lot of that positivity last year was around Diallo the top goalscorer and amazing ability he managed to create and bring to the team.

"It feels like that little x-factor at the top end of the pitch isn't here at the minute, and yet there is so much good about the football team."

Are the team lacking a Kevin Ball figure?

"Listen Bally was an adversary of mine and obviously a real leader for the football club.

"It depends what the people want, what do the team need? What do the fans want?

"Do they want to see a team that can dominate football matches and move it around. I'm not sure how many goals Kevin scored.

"I feel as if we can generally dominate games. I feel everyone needs a Kevin Phillips rather than a Kevin Ball in my opinion. That's with total respect to Kevin Ball who is a great human being. We could do with more of a Kevin Phillips at the moment I think."

Mowbray on meeting after the game

"We had a long chat after the game the players. We have to pass forward more.

"When you play against a team who play 5-4-1, you have to ask more questions of them really. I think it was a naive performance really.

"The data said we had 27 shots, I couldn't find 27 shots watching it back. We will face it again, we faced it at Plymouth for most of the match, we had lots of the ball.

"It was a huge opportunity to get three points that slipped through our fingers."

Mowbray on illness and Huddersfield

"I'm on antibiotics. I feel better in myself. I'm not a doctor but I did feel pretty ill and bunged up. All that congestion seems to have gone now.

"The other night was a frustrating night from us. I feel when you play Huddersfield at home you have to keep accumulating points. With total respect to Huddersfield you have to find the energy and intensity to get the job done.

"I'm not sure the energy and intensity was there."

The press conference is about to start

We'll start with the Sunderland team news.

Nazariy Rusyn missed Wednesday's 2-1 defeat against Huddersfield with a groin injury and will be assessed.

Dennis Cirkin remains sidelined with a hamstring issue, while Corry Evans, Jay Matete, Aji Alese and Timothee Pembele remain sidelined.

Chris Rigg is available again after representing England at the U17s World Cup.

We'll get a further update from Mowbray this morning.