London (AFP) – Sunderland manager David Moyes said Monday he had no defence to former England striker Alan Shearer’s damning criticism of his relegated side after their inept display during a defeat by Swansea.
The Black Cats, who play Arsenal in the penultimate match of a miserable Premier League season on Tuesday, offered minimal resistance in a 2-0 defeat by Swansea at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light last weekend in a result that secured the Welsh club’s top-flight status.
Shearer, now a pundit with BBC television’s Match of the Day, slammed Sunderland’s effort in front of their own supporters as “disgraceful”, “pathetic” and “lazy”.
Moyes did not disagree with Shearer, who spent a large part of his career with Sunderland’s northeast rivals Newcastle United.
“I’d have to say that I think in many ways, he was right,” Moyes told a pre-match news conference on Monday.
“I was incredibly disappointed with the performance.
“I don’t think any player ever goes out to try to perform like that. There were some reasons for it, but I’m actually privy to the stats, I can see the physical stats and on much of that, I couldn’t disagree.”
Moyes was criticised for saying Sunderland, who had enjoyed several narrow escapes in previous campaigns, faced another relegation battle just two games into the current season.
But the 54-year-old former Everton and Manchester United manager had arrived at the Stadium of Light in succession to Sam Allardyce at a time when American owner Ellis Short was looking to cut spending and even possibly sell the club.
Asked if it had been a horrible season, Moyes replied: “Of course it has because of the outcome, and we have said we have been really disappointed by it. It’s not been great.
“We made everybody well aware that our squad was short from the start. We also would have liked to have added in January.
“We knew, we were experienced enough to understand what it would take to stay up and from the start, we were always playing catch-up, really.
“I’ve been really fortunate to see good teams, good players, I know what it looks like. At the moment, the players we’re using are way, way off that level, not anywhere near close to the same level.”
But Moyes insisted his reputation as a manager, already dented by unsuccessful spells at United and Spanish side Real Sociedad, had not suffered permanent damage as a result of Sunderland’s struggles.
“I came here knowing exactly what the task was going to be,” the Scot said. “I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen behind the scenes.
“In football, sometimes you win games. I have said it, I’m saying it to defend myself — I have a great win record at nearly all the clubs I have been at. This is the only anomaly where it hasn’t happened.
“But I have got to say, it hasn’t happened for quite a few managers and it has been that way for quite a while.”
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