Sbragia surprised by Sunderland slump

08 May 2009 12:10
Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia never envisaged being involved in a desperate fight for Barclays Premier League survival after a blistering start to his managerial career.

Sbragia was thrust into the hotseat, initially on a caretaker basis, after Roy Keane sensationally resigned in the wake of a 4-1 home defeat by Bolton on December 29.

A last-gasp defeat at Manchester United in his first game in charge was followed by comprehensive victories over West Brom and Hull and a 0-0 draw with Blackburn which persuaded chairman Niall Quinn he was the man for the job on a permanent basis.

But a little more than four months on, Sbragia will lead his side back into battle with Bolton knowing defeat could leave his club in severe danger of slipping out of the top flight.

Asked if he could have imagined being in such a situation back in January, Sbragia said: "No, not at all. We kicked on and I had the feeling we would get some sort of response from them. But we have been disappointing over the last nine games now.

"I have been really disappointed. I hope we don't think we are safe - I have always thought we have never been safe, to be truthful. We haven't had a really great team performance and it is a concern."

Source: Eurosport

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