July 16, 2024

Mike Dodds is ready to let go of the handbrake as he seeks to get Sunderland’s stalled season back on track against Swansea City this afternoon at home.

Dodds begins his third tenure as temporary Sunderland manager with his team seven points behind the play-off spots after losing their last two games under his predecessor, Michael Beale.

One of the most common critiques directed at Beale during his ill-fated 63-day reign was that he was too cautious and had lost much of the attacking freedom that Tony Mowbray had enjoyed.

Dodds has been careful not to be unduly critical of Beale this week, but he clearly wants his team to adopt a more blatantly attacking strategy in the remaining 13 games of the season.

“I think I understand what the fans want in terms of how they want a Sunderland team to be, and I think that is every single game having a real go,” Dodds told the BBC. “We’ll lose some, win some, and I’ll have to answer questions regardless of the outcome.

“At some point, preferably in the next few years, I will leave this football club; the people of Sunderland want the brand of football to reflect the city.

“That is not lost on me, and it is something we will attempt to reflect on Saturday and the next 12 games. I have a mental image and vision of what a Sunderland team should look like.

Much of the discussion over Sunderland’s attacking approach this season has centered on whether or not the club should play with a natural number nine.

Nazariy Rusyn and Mason Burstow both had opportunities under Beale but failed to impress, while in his previous term as caretaker manager this season, Dodds opted to play Jobe Bellingham as his primary striker.


Sunderland star pays tribute to 'tactically good' Mike Dodds after West  Brom win - Sports Illustrated Sunderland Nation

“I don’t really have a preference in terms of striker, no striker, two strikers,” Dodds remarked. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much more comfortable with who I am and what I enjoy and dislike.

“The reality is, and I believe I shown this in my previous term, I will select a squad that I believe will win the game, regardless of whether it has one striker, two, or more.

“I know if I win I’ll get plaudits, and if I don’t I’ll get questions, and I’m super comfortable with that because any decision I make will have been thought out over and over again.”

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