REGIS LE BRIS is confident the building blocks for success are already in place at Sunderland, and claims he would not have agreed to take over at the Stadium of Light had he not been comfortable with the parameters of his role.

Le Bris is coming towards the end of his first week as head coach, having agreed to move to Wearside from French club Lorient at the end of last month.

Both Alex Neil and Tony Mowbray moved on from Sunderland after clashing with the hierarchy over the direction of the club’s development and the limits of their involvement when it came to recruitment.

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Le Bris is confident he will not encounter the same problems, having left discussions with Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and Kristjaan Speakman confident that a high degree of alignment is in place.

“Many things feel right,” said Le Bris, who spoke at his first press conference as head coach on Wednesday afternoon. “The vision is very important at the beginning. Here, with the owner and the sporting director, they are very clear on the way they want to pilot the club. The whole organisation is strong, and very clear in their goals.

“For me, that was the first step. Then, we also need to be very clear about the identity of the club, what we want to do together, and how we want to achieve our goals. These ideas are very clear.

“After that, another layer is added with the team, the coaching staff and all the staff around the club. This part of the club is very well organised and, for me, as a coach, if we have this structure we can train and express our strength. The identity and the team are very linked, and this provides a big strength.”

While Le Bris spoke glowingly about Sunderland’s history and support when he addressed the media at the Academy of Light, he is adamant the size of the club he was joining was not a key consideration when he was discussing his future this summer.

Instead, the appeal of the wider project was always going to be key, with Louis-Dreyfus and Speakman’s vision for growing Sunderland as a sustainable Championship clubs with ambitions of reaching the Premier League striking an immediate chord.

“At the beginning, it was always a question of the project,” he said. “If I want to express myself and be the best version of me, then I need to find a project which is in line with this idea. When I was given this opportunity, it fits really well.

“For me, it wasn’t an objective to be in a prestigious club. That is what has happened, because it definitely is here, so the opportunity is incredible for me. The fans, the environment around the club, it is all very exciting. You can feel the energy of the city and the people around, and if you put that with the organisation that is in place, it is a great, great strength for this club.”

Le Bris already knew a fair bit about Sunderland when the club came calling because he had watched the acclaimed ‘Sunderland Til I Die’ series on Netflix.


The documentary charts the ups and downs of the club’s relegation from the Championship and subsequent spell in League One, but while much of the last decade has been difficult to stomach for Sunderland’s fans, Le Bris feels the experience gained from overcoming a series of on and off-field challenges could be invaluable.

“I have watched it (the Netflix series),” he said. “It was interesting. A club and a team can meet lots of different events – some things can be wrong, some things can be good.

“The structure and organisation must be very strong to compete at the level we are competing at. I think that all the experiences the club has had before have helped build stronger foundations. Now, we want to have better objectives, better feelings and please the fans with our style of play and our players and team. Then winning, of course, is also very important. Hopefully, we can enjoy it.”