Pascal Chimbonda isn’t exactly what you would call a Sunderland legend, signed by Roy Keane in 2008 he made 16 appearances in a six-month stay at the Stadium of Light.
The 39-year old is back in the North East playing for non-league Washington, but he remains very vocal on the football scene on Wearside. He’s been speaking to the Sunderland Echo, and Black Cats fans might not like what he has to say.
“It’s going to be tough for them,” said the former Spurs defender.
“The players’ heads are down, and there aren’t many games left. They need to freshen up their style, and it’s going to be really hard for them to avoid relegation, but I would like to see them do it.”
Chris Coleman’s side are four points adrift of Barnsley, who themselves are fourth from bottom, and they face a huge clash with promotion-chasing Preston this weekend. It’s been a disastrous season for them having only dropped out of the Premier League in May. Chimbonda pinpoints exactly what he thinks has gone wrong.
“They were relegated from the Premier League and kept players like Lee Cattermole, John O’Shea who hadn’t played in the Championship, and it’s a different style to the Premier League. I think they need experienced Championship players, who have played in the Championship for many years, take these players and give the youngsters some opportunities to play.”
Having recently allowed young Michael Ledger to leave, as well as releasing Josh Robson, there doesn’t appear to be an urgency to progress younger players. Those youngsters may have been afforded more opportunity in the event of an unthinkable successive relegation. However, Chimbonda doesn’t blame under-pressure manager Chris Coleman.
“He’s a good manager, but he hasn’t been able to choose his players and it’s tough coming into a club who are having a difficult time. It’s hard for a manager to come and change things, only Sam Allardyce can do things like this!”
It’s always interesting to hear the opinion of former professionals as they understand the game as well as anyone. I think Chimbonda is saying what a lot of people are secretly thinking; that Sunderland are favourites for the drop.
It would take a massive turnaround for them to get out of the bottom three and they don’t have the attributes needed to pull results out of the bag when it matters.
Given the state of some of their defending this season, perhaps they should be approaching Washington for permission to speak to the veteran Frenchman.
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