Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Friday December 18 2009
1) How are you finding things this season with the billionaire revamp our your club? Are things going to plan or are you still unhappy with some areas of your performances?
Overall I think most of the fans are becoming quite restless and want to see an immediate return for the millions we have spent. In an ideal world we should be higher, especially with the inconsistencies of others around us, however, we have failed to capitalise. I think over the forthcoming weeks a lot of questions will be answered though and if things improve we can be looking at a very healthy campaign. With a semi-final of the League Cup too look forward to as well as hopefully breaking the top four things could be a lot worse.
2) You are known know as the 'draw specialists' - why do you think teams are getting points from you and do you think Sunderland could grab anything this weekend?
Our inability to finish games off and failure to punish opposition mistakes have been reasons for some concern this season. Obviously teams see a victory against us now as a big scalp so sit behind the ball for the majority of the match. On to many occasions we have failed to put our chances away and a sloppy mistake at the back usually gives the opposition a chance of getting something. On your chances of the point, in all honesty I think it should be three points to us, but if Hull, Fulham and Burnley are anything to go by, you have a chance.
3) What has been the biggest disappointment to this campaign so far?
Without a doubt it has to be the seven successive draws. Most of those draws were touted as comfortable wins and we managed to drop 14 points. The draws at home have to be the biggest disappointment, the likes of Burnley and Hull etc are teams we need to record comfortable wins against if we want to fulfil our ambitions. Couple that with home wins against Chelsea and Arsenal and there is a real mystery why we are failing to perform and put sides away. Our recent performance at Spurs typified the season so far.
4) Is Mark Hughes the right man for the job or do you want him replaced?
I`m 100% behind Hughes, however, with performances like that against Tottenham his doubters are growing. When he came the club was in turmoil, Shinawatra was in charge and the team on the first day against Villa would comfortably sit as our reserves now. The signings he has brought in will hopefully take us to the next level and with time I can see a successful era under Hughes. The team have to take the criticism as much if not more than the manager, we have the players and at the moment they`re not performing to the high standards we have been led to expect. If he is replaced we lose the stability, I also believe the new manager would want a new setup, players etc and with our patience I don`t think that`s possible.
5) What are your feelings on Sunderland this season, impressed or not noticed?
You are a much-improved side this season and have some good strong players. I think a few better results against the lesser teams could see the team finishing eighth. Bruce did a good job at Wigan and is now transforming that into the mess dirty Keane left. With Niall Quinn at the helm anything is possible, I believe he will continue to back the team and you will be rewarded.
6) Any players you would like from Sunderland?
Unfortunately where we are aiming to head I think most of your players would find it difficult to keep up with the squad. There have been some promising players there this season though, none more so than Darren Bent. I think Bent is the most likely to get close to playing for us, but you have other strong players who make you stand out candidates for eighth. Cattermole, Cana and Turner all look like good acquisitions.
7) Would you have Bent in the England squad for the World Cup?
Bent should definitely go to South Africa in my opinion. The striker is in the form of his life and has scored against all the big four, if memory serves me correct. The service with the National squad should also be a very high standard and I believe he would strive on this. I can`t see Bent starting in South Africa due to some poor performances for England. I would have him 3rd choice behind Rooney and Defoe but after that Bent must be our strongest candidate.
8) Score prediction?
Hopefully we can return to winning ways and put the Spurs misery behind us. If we perform like Wednesday you have chance as I said earlier, but I feel we will be much boosted and desperate to achieve a win. I don`t think it will be an easy task and you definitely won`t crumble. This is a must win for City so I have to say 3:1 to us.
Once A Blue
VitalCity interview with Sunderland
Date:Friday December 18 2009
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