Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson accepts that every move he makes at this club will be scrutinized
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Phil Parkinson insists that he understands Sunderland fans’ « desperation » to get out of the top division – and accepts the criticism that comes with it.
The Black Cats play six points outside of the automatic promotion slots tonight in Fleetwood Town, albeit with two games in the hands of runner-up Peterborough United, but Parkinson came under fire after his side conceded a last-minute goal equalized at Doncaster last weekend after a shocking home loss to MK Dons.
In truth, Parkinson’s has been under scrutiny since the start of the season. Some fans weren’t convinced by the dramatic rise in results last season when Sunderland scored 29 out of 36 after Christmas, which came after a very poor start for Reign.
Although Parkinson started the season with just one loss in ten league games, he freely admits that Sunderland have not been at their best so far.
Still, they’re still within reach of the automatic promotion slots – and Parkinson believes his crew will only get better.
« I think more of us will come. » he said. « We need to ask more of individuals on the team.
« Elements of our game were good, but I don’t think we can hide from them. The dominance that we had in games was not reflected in the goals we scored.
« We are aware of this, we are not trying to hide from it and pretend we are excited about everything and everything is fantastic.
« We came in on the Monday after the Doncaster game and I and Steve [Parkin, assistant manager] sat down and saw how we could change things and make the system we were playing more effective because sometimes we were excellent and should have done it was out of sight.
« I understand how the fans feel and how desperate they are to get out of the top division.
« It’s the same with other clubs I’ve been to, but obviously it’s increased by the volume of support here.
« I know what to do to be at the top of this table because I’ve worked long hours there, promotions, play-offs and in and around it.
« We have to be more threatening and effective in elements of our game, we know that. «
On the criticism itself, Parkinson added, « I have to stick to what I and the staff believe we should do from week to week.
« I block everything else like many other seasoned managers, and that doesn’t mean we don’t respect the fans’ views – we know how passionate they are about their club – but watching every game in the cold light of day and see where we need to improve.
« After the Ipswich game that we took off we have dwindled a bit since then, but I felt like the level of performance at Doncaster was good and I could see how we could get back to what was going on we can play is positive.
But if you have a time when it looks like things are going against you, admit that last minute goal when it might not hit the net two weeks ago.
« Other teams will go through similar phases over the course of the season so we just have to be strong and focus on what we have to do. «
Parkinson admits that at a club like Sunderland, every decision the manager makes is reviewed – including team selections, tactics and substitutions.
And in hindsight, he was criticized for not making any changes against Doncaster earlier.
But he said, « When you concede a goal this late, it’s natural to look back and see what if. « .
« I just felt we were so comfortable at this point and we had the players there to make it through.
« We were never on the rack, Remi [Matthews] barely had a save to make, it wasn’t like they hit the bar or anything, it was an isolated incident right at the end of the game.
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