Sunderland beat Hull City over the weekend
One week after confirming its relegation from the Premier League, Sunderland went and did something it has only done before twice all season–it won away from home. That it did so against Hull City, fighting relegation and with a coach, Marco Silva, whose sides have been unbeaten at home for the three years he has been a head coach, was all the more surprising.
Sunderland coach Davd Moyes is one year into a four-year contract and is trying to keep his job.
“I know what needs to be done to get back in the Premier League,” he declared bullishly last week, before adding: “At the start of the season it felt like every Sunderland supporter wanted David Moyes as manager. And I think every single Sunderland supporter knew a rebuild was needed.”
Moyes’s messaging has been peculiar all season. After the second match of the season, a loss to Middlesbrough, Moyes declared the team was in a relegation battle. Only 10 matches ago, the team was just two points away from safety; since then it has capitulated, picking up two points in its last 10 games before the Hull win. Too little, too late.
Sunderland has changed coaches in each of the last five campaigns mid-season, but it did not do so this season. The club spent £30 million on new players last summer, and more in January; seven of those are players with whom Moyes had worked with before: Joleon Lescott, Darron Gibson, Bryan Oviedo, Victor Anichebe, Donald Love and Patrick McNair. None can be said to have been a success. This relegation was not inevitable, as Moyes has painted it. It could have been avoided. And now Moyes wants to be the man to get Sunderland back into the top-flight.
“I want to be able to have a team which would come straight back up,” he said.
The team is likely to be without its two key performers of this season: goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, outstanding against Hull and wanted by up to five Premier League teams this summer, and Jermain Defoe, allowed to leave this summer and already wanted by Crystal Palace, West Ham and Bournemouth. He could do a job as an impact sub at a team higher up the table, too. Sunderland has three players on loan going back to their clubs and 1- players out of contract this summer. There will be an overhaul on the playing side.
The question for owner Ellis Short is whether he wants Moyes to be in charge of that.