Sunderland interim head coach Mike Dodds has urged the Black Cats players to switch off this summer after what he's described as a unique campaign.

The Wearsiders went from play-off contenders heading into Christmas to avoiding relegation by just six points. A tumultuous season petered to an end, with Dodds taking just nine points from the 39 up for grabs.

It's been a mentally draining campaign for players, staff and supporters, with Dodds accepting that a number of players were in need of a mental reset.

READ MORE: Sunderland's play-off campaign born in the depths of failure

"I think there's a lot of them if I'm honest," Dodds told We Are Sunderland prior to the final game of the campaign. "If we're all being honest, we've got a really young group who haven't experienced what they've probably experienced this year.

"I'm not saying we should do this, but if you had a lot more senior players in the dressing room, the senior players would have experienced managers coming and going and change.

"I think if you go through the squad, there'll be a huge amount that have never experienced that. That's another thing in terms of my reflection. When you work with a group, how many of this group, when they sit in front of me here, how many of them have experienced what they've experienced?

"I've had individual meetings with the players this week and what I've said to them, when you leave and book your holidays, 'go and be Dennis Cirkin, not Dennis Cirkin the footballer.' Go and relax.

"Go and be a normal person and I say that respectfully. Go on holiday and forget what your profession is to a degree and completely switch off. It's been a unique year for a lot of the players who haven't experienced it."

Sunderland are still in search of a new head coach after parting company with Michael Beale in mid-February, but will make a decision on Callum Styles, Corry Evans, Bradley Dack and Ellis Taylor's future in the coming days.

Will Still, Rene Maric, Paul Heckingbottom and Danny Rohl have all been linked with the vacant managerial hotseat in recent weeks.