Sbragia happy with squad

19 February 2009 04:33
Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia has revealed that his squad is a happier place now that he has got rid of the dissenters and the whisperers.

The former Manchester United and Bolton coach made no secret of the fact that he wanted to drastically cut the numbers in his squad when he took over from Roy Keane in December.

But now it appears that the Scot was also worried about team unity with certain players speaking behind the coach's back and trying to disrupt fellow team-mates.

Pascal Chimbonda, El Hadji Diouf, Liam Miller, Graham Kavanagh, Roy O'Donovan and Michael Chopra were all offloaded in the January transfer window as Sbragia looked to work with a more manageable number.

"From my point of view the numbers are now workable," he said.

"There were 22 in training the other day and I would say that was the best it's been since I took over.

"It means now we've maybe nine players not whispering, not happy and disrupting the dressing room.

Complaining"We've not got the players drifting around, complaining, whilst we were trying to work out what to do with them.

"There were too many whispers going on behind my back. Players who were unhappy maybe don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, so start whispering, disrupting the dressing room.

"I want players to be realistic if they are not playing. But the squad I've got now I'm really pleased with. They've gelled and worked hard together.

"The atmosphere downstairs is absolutely brilliant. With that negativity gone, I feel it has made a difference in terms of the results.

"Sometimes players will blame other players but now they've no excuse. Whoever has gone, has gone now so it's up to the 22 players here to get us higher up that table."

Team bondingSbragia will take advantage of a gap in their fixture list next weekend when scheduled opponents Tottenham face Manchester United in the Carling Cup final instead.

The Black Cats will go on a team bonding warm weather training camp and the manager believes a change of scenery will be beneficial to the players.

"We're going away to Seville for a few days and do a bit of training there and hopefully get back on track," he added.

"We need to get away from the training ground. I think it's a bit boring coming to the same place all the time.

"We'll do a little bit of team bonding, which I feel is important."

Sbragia also revealed they have received enquiries for striker Rade Prica, who has made just six substitute appearances since a £2million move from Aalborg in January last year, but they will wait to see if they receive a better offer.

"There have been two or three enquiries but because it's their pre-season they've not pushed it on," he explained about the interest from Scandinavia.

"We've had an offer but we feel we can get more for him. We would hope in the next three or four days something might happen and it will be solved."

Source: SKY_Sports