Carl Winchester reveals what has changed at Sunderland under Alex Neil in contrasting interview after Charlton draw

Carl Winchester says the intensity of Sunderland’s training sessions has stepped up a notch under Alex Neil.

Monday, 7th March 2022, 6:00 am

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Neil was named the Black Cats’ new head coach less than a month ago, taking charge while the team was on a poor run of form.

But after a three-match winless run under the Scot, Sunderland have produced much better performances at Wigan, when they recorded a 3-0 win, and Charlton.

Sunderland dominated for large spells during a goalless draw against the latter, yet the result saw them drop out of the League One play-off places.

Carl Winchester playing for Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

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Still, Winchester says the new boss is making an impact, with confidence levels much higher compared to a couple of weeks ago.

When asked by the Echo about the main changes under Neil, Winchester replied: “The intensity, he wants us to work at a real high intensity. In training the intensity has stepped up a notch.

“He’s come in and just been honest with everyone about what he thinks, what has gone wrong and how we are going to fix it.

“You want someone to be honest and fair play to him, he’s come in and he’s done that.

“For his teams he wants you to be fit and he has done a lot of that in training.”

Winchester also spoke to the press after Sunderland’s 2-1 defeat by Doncaster at the start of February, when the Northern Irishman gave a downbeat interview.

The 28-year-old was much more positive here, claiming the win and performance at Wigan helped lift the dressing room mood.

“Once you get that result, I think it was always just getting that win then the confidence will grow,” he added.

“Once we got that win, you can see we are starting to get the confidence back and will hopefully go on that run.

“The new manager has come in and it will take a while for us to adjust to what way he wants to play.

“He has just come in and made it plain simple what he wants, and that is hard work and commitment. I think the lads have taken to it well.”

Sunderland were boosted by the return of striker Nathan Broadhead at Charlton, as the striker featured for the first time in over two months following a hamstring injury.

While he wasn’t named in the matchday squad, Luke O’Nien also took part in the warm-up and is expected to return to action soon.

Jermain Defoe missed the game with a minor issue, while Aiden McGeady is also making progress following months on the sidelines.

"Nath when he was playing at the start of the season he was brilliant for us. He was on fire and scoring a lot of goals,” said Winchester.

“We have a lot coming back with Luke coming back, Geeds coming back, Defoe coming back as well.

“It’s a strong squad and there is a lot of competition for places but you need that at clubs like this to succeed.”

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