Sunderland midfielder Duncan Watmore has admitted that new manager Phil Parkinson has already lifted the mood around the club, since his arrival at the Stadium of Light just over a week ago.
Parkinson was appointed as the Black Cats’ manager following the sacking of Jack Ross in early October, with Sunderland’s new appointment picking up his first win since taking over with a 5-0 thrashing of Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday night, with Watmore finding the net as he continues his combeack after several injury hampered seasons that have left him with limited opportunities.
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Speaking in the aftermath of that win, Watmore revealed that, although he was sad to see Ross leave the club, he has also noticed a change of atmosphere around the club since Parkinson’s arrival, as he told The Chronicle: “As I’ve said before, the last manager was absolutely brilliant with me and I enjoyed working with him.
“I was really sorry to see him go.
“But this gaffer has come in and been brilliant. It’s a different style and I’m really enjoying it. I’m looking forward to what it brings because he’s been great, and so has his assistant. It’s been really good.”
Reflecting on how Watmore and his teammates have taken to their manager, the midfielder continued: “Obviously there’s going to be differences and stuff, but we’ll see that as we go along throughout the season.
“There’s a good mood around the place, everyone is enjoying it and working hard in training. Training has been really good and it’s all great.”
Following that victory over Tranmere, Sunderland have climbed to eighth in the League One table, outside the play-offs only on goal difference, and speaking about the importance of building momentum following that win, Watmore concluded: “Coming off a defeat (at Wycombe the previous Saturday) you always want to set the record straight at home. We did that very well, but as we know it’s one game. We need to build on it and make sure we’re ready for Saturday.
“That’s where the squad will come in. We’ve got a great squad, a great set of lads and we need to win a few games.”
This is an interesting insight from Watmore.
It certainly seems as though the players have taken to Parkinson well, and despite the fact they were sad to see Ross go, there does seem to be a suggestion that the squad themselves feel things are now looking up under their new manager.
Indeed, that is soomething that did seem to show with that emphatic win over Tranmere in midweek, which may well have served as a reminder to some about just how capable a football team Sunderland still are.
That alone will not be enough however, and the having laid down that marker in midweek, the pressure will now be on Sunderland to show they can put in that type of performance week in week out, in order to secure what has to be their only target this season in the form of promotion back to the Championship.