This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
The so-called new manager bounce has deserted Phil Parkinson so far and that could mean that a change in approach is needed for the manager in terms of how he deals with his players.
Sunderland have won just two of his 11 matches in charge and are so far yet to win when falling behind in a match, which highlights a lack of belief and spirit in the dressing room.
Such an atmosphere is the foundation of any success, no matter what the league, and the Black Cats cannot expect to throw money around in the hope it finds a winning formula thanks to sheer luck.
One man who built a strong team spirit was Roy Keane, who combined a ruthlessness with knowing what to say to get the best out of players, and it paid off with huge success.
Someone who benefitted from his style was Tobias Hysen, who was drafted into the side after the team lost their opening four fixtures, and his assist contributed to a 2-0 win over West Brom.
Keane made a decisive impact straight away, which current manager Parkinson has failed to do, and it could be because of the way he treated his players, something which Hysen makes note of.
Speaking to Sportbibleln, he said:
“He was tough but fair. If someone did not do what he expected, he could tell, he could be angry, but it wasn’t that he frothed at the mouth and threw things.
“We lost a game against Preston, and he said to some: ‘You might as well have been sitting on the bench with me today, because you are not affecting anything. You are not in the match, you might as well sit next to me’.”
Hysen readily admitted himself that he wasn’t good enough to start on a regular basis for that Sunderland side, yet Keane got him to produce three goals and four assists from 15 league starts, which shows his style paid off.
That meant Hysen was a useful squad player to have and shows that strength in depth is exactly what’s needed to build a promotion campaign, and exactly what’s needed right now.
Several players are underperforming yet still being picked. More should be expected of Will Grigg, Aiden McGeady and Grant Leadbitter, experienced players who have spent most of their career at a higher level but simply aren’t doing enough to get their side winning currently.
As a result, it is possible Parkinson has been too lenient in his approach with them, and a style more similar to Keane’s could be the route needed in the current day.
After all, Sunderland languishing in 11th place in the third-tier while being knocked out of various cup competitions is not only unacceptable, but embarrassing, and Parkinson would be well within his rights to be angry at his squad and demand improvement.
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