• Mike Dodds’ verdict on the game.
  • Reflections on the season as a whole.
  • Why the club won’t drastically change recruitment.

Every word Mike Dodds said after Sunderland’s 2-0 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday.

Mike, one last time, it’s not been the end of season you would have wanted disrupted by team changes you probably didn’t want to make?

This second period in charge hasn’t gone as I would’ve liked at all, not just the last few games. On a personal note, I’ve always said this isn’t about me, but there’ll be a period of reflection which a few years time, I’ll be bigger, better and strong from. In terms of the game, we created more than enough opportunities to win the game and for the score line to be different. As I’ve just said to the players, the two goals we’ve conceded are almost identical in terms of people running off shoulders. You can’t allow people to, in that area of the pitch, allow people to run off your shoulder. Manage the basics of the game in one box and then in the other box, take your chances. I’ve just said to the group there, we are where we are in terms of we deserve it if we’re being brutally honest. I don’t think the table lies. We haven’t given the fans enough to cheer about, not just in my spell but in the course of the whole season. We ultimately haven’t been good enough.

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There’s been too many times this year where I don’t feel like we’ve lost the game, I feel like we’ve handed the game to the opposition. Today, the two goals are so avoidable if you do the basics right. In front of goal, not just my period in charge, it’s been a consistent theme throughout the season. We’ve been snatchy in front of goal. That’s my immediate reflections.

Were your preparations right for todays game because of the player awards?

In terms of stuff behind the scenes, I don’t feel that there’s an issue behind the scenes. If we’re being honest, myself included, there are three parts to what has happened this season. The club need to reflect on some of the decisions and I’m not trying this separate myself from that because I’m a part of that. I need some reflection points because I’ve taken the team for this period and it hasn’t gone as well as I’d like. Again, I said to the players in there, there has to be some reflection from some of them because if we’re being brutally honest some of the performances have been a stark contrast from this season and last. As for the awards, they were done before I was even sat in this seat, so I’m not going to get drawn into whether that was a positive or a negative because my focus is coaching. My focus is the team. In terms of what’s going on around my head, I’ve got loads of reflections in terms of the way I set the team up, preparation for the game, why haven’t the results gone the way I would want them to go? Could we have got more out of the team? Could we have squeezed more out of the team? The team at the moment is just the team. We’ve just got to accept that’s where we’re at. That’s what’s going through my head at the moment.

Danny Röhl has just said he’s had honest conversations throughout the season, hard hitting ones. Have you been able to have any after the game?

I just addressed the team there in terms of - we all have to take responsibility because we can’t have the highs of last year and take all the pats on the back. Then when things go wrong, we flip our narrative and start pointing fingers. I’m not going to point fingers at anyone because my responsibility is to lead the team and I’ll stand up to positives or negatives around that. We are where we are in the table and we  deserve to be there. We’ve not been good enough. It’s not just my period in charge, it’s been throughout the course of the season. The table doesn’t lie. There’s some real things for everyone to learn from. The group is clear on there have been things, next year, that have to be complete non-negotiables. Because we won’t accept, that’s club, players and staff, another season like that. No way. 

Do you believe the club is prepared to adapt?

It depends on what your lense is on adapt because the club’s viewpoint, my viewpoint, our viewpoint. They’re not going to completely change recruitment. They’re not going to completely rip it up because that’s what they believe. Last year it brought success and this year, unfortunately it hasn’t brought success. That won’t completely change. We’ve all reflected behind the scenes. We need one or two more that have more appearances at this level. I’m not going to use the word experience because I don’t think going and getting a 30-year-old is the answer. I just feel like we need more depth and a few more players that have experienced this level and experienced more games at this level. In terms of adapt, I don’t think there will be a huge adaption in terms of direction we’re going in but I do think there needs to be a reflection in terms of the decisions we’ve all made this year. The table doesn’t lie.