'The dressing room was toxic': Ex-Sunderland midfielder Jan Kirchhoff delivers damning verdict on former boss David Moyes
Ex-Sunderland midfielder Jan Kirchhoff has shed more light on David Moyes' terrible Black Cats tenure, after describing the atmosphere as 'toxic' under the Scot.
Earlier this week Crystal Palace full-back Patrick van Aanholt admitted he 'couldn’t get along with' Moyes during the 2016/17 Premier League season, which ultimately ended in relegation for Wearsiders.
Van Aanholt questioned Moyes' tactics and coaching methods, which were completely different to what was deployed under previous Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce.
And Kirchhoff, who helped Sunderland escape from relegation in 2016, says the atmosphere changed very quickly once Moyes took charge at the Stadium of Light.
Speaking to the Roker Rapport Podcast, Kirchhoff said: "I just knew him from Everton, Manchester United and a little bit in Spain, so I had no judgement and like you always do in new situations, you go in and have a look. I think the owner wanted someone with a big name and was quite keen on him.
"I am far away from blaming anyone because in the end it’s all about coming together as a team, but there was so many small things he did that I just didn’t think were right to do.
"He’d go out in the public interviews and be negative about the team and the players, he also did this inside the club. The atmosphere changed so drastically from positive to negative under him. The freedom we had before was gone."
"You’d go from having confidence in the team and yourself to questioning yourself and you’d become frustrated. It wasn’t enjoyable to be at the training ground."
Kirchhoff was a key player under Allardyce but struggled with injuries the following campaign.
Allardyce also got the best out of players such as Wahbi Khazri and Fabio Borini, players who weren't given a chance under Moyes, according to Kirchhoff.
"What really made me angry was that he criticised the players in public all the time in newspapers - and that is a weak excuse to point fingers at others. He built the team, he paid the money for the players.
"I was about to say, “excuse me, it’s your team and the players showed we are good enough last season, so what changed?”
"You just have to get on with it, it shouldn’t be an excuse for a professional footballer to stop playing, you should still perform. But some players didn’t even get a chance to perform like Wahbi and Fabio Borini as they never played - so it all came together.
"The atmosphere in the dressing room was toxic, we would have lots of fights."