New Sunderland manager Coleman tells players ‘commit or leave’

(Photo: Reuters)

By Jonny Leighfield

Sunderland manager Chris Coleman has immediately thrown down the gauntlet to his players and told them they must either commit to the cause or find another club.

Coleman was appointed on Saturday on a two-and-a-half-year deal after watching The Black Cats set a new English football record of 20 successive home games without a win.

The Welshman has admitted that he faces an uphill struggle to turn Sunderland around and said that the only way he’ll be able to do it is if everyone is pulling in the same direction.

“If you’re committed you’re in, if not you’re out,” said Coleman.

“You can’t pretend at it. What we don’t need are any shrinking violets,” he said.

Coleman added: “We will find out who is going to be coming along on this next chapter pretty quickly I think. Whoever is not will need to go and play football somewhere else.

“If this challenge is too big for them then they need to move on.”

Sunderland have now had ten permanent managers in nine years since Roy Keane’s departure in December 2008 and the former Fulham boss knows that creating some stability at the club will be the biggest test of his managerial career.

“It is going to be a big challenge. I am going to need all the supporters, players, staff, everybody to come with me on this.

“Sooner or later it will start turning. Then it is such a big club that when we gather momentum, it’s hard to stop.

“Someone will turn this club around, whether it is me or the next one. I want that to be me, of course,” he said.

Despite the daunting task ahead of him, the 47-year-old is excited that he has finally been given the chance to manage a ‘big club’.

Coleman said: “Nothing good ever came from a comfort zone and I know I’m in no comfort zone at Sunderland.”

“You can go through a career as a manager and never manage a big club. I always wanted that experience and here I am. We are bottom of the league, that’s reality. It’s still a big club, still Sunderland.”

Coleman’s first game in charge of The Black Cats will be a tough one as they travel to in-form Aston Villa.

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