When Chris Coleman arrived on Wearside, he quickly won the fans over with his positive comments about the potential of Sunderland Football Club, size of the fanbase and his belief that he was the man to end the downward spiral.
To be fair, Simon Grayson said very similar things in his early days. He was just as positive, but as we all know things didn’t end well for him.
What both Grayson and Coleman quickly found out was just how deep-rooted the losing culture was and how fragile the players have been mentally.
How else do you explain a winless home run of a day short of a year when home games are supposed to be an advantage?
Yet, game after game at the Stadium of Light we saw players struggling under the weight of expectation.
So, I was pleased with Coleman’s criticism lately when he said you don’t take kittens to a dogfight and called out the players for being too soft after the Middlesbrough and Cardiff games.
Make no mistake, those comments weren’t intended for the media, or to impress the fans, they were directly aimed at the dressing room and it is now up to the players to either agree with the manager and do something about it or if they disagree prove him wrong.
Either way the team benefits, as sometimes a manager knows he needs to shake-up the dressing room and Chris Coleman obviously feels that has been long overdue.
I have played in relegation battles many times, more than I would have wanted, and I know exactly the extreme pressure you can be under but no one stops you battling and giving everything.
Despite Saturday’s great win over Hull City, every game until we get to 50 points is a relegation scrap and any player not willing to roll their sleeves up and give their all may as well stay at home.
That was the message the manager was giving to his players and judging by the Hull performance it did the trick, but we’ve had the odd good result before and flopped the game after.
Consistency is needed now and if it takes the manager giving them a few more tongue lashings, then so be it.