Here’s Phil Parkinson pre-Tranmere presser in full…
How would you describe your first few days in the job?
“Hectic, as you would imagine. The games are coming thick and fast. It was disappointing not to get the result on Saturday, but we move on quickly and we're looking forward to Tuesday night's game.”
How big a job do you think you have on your hands?
“It's a huge task, but it's one I feel myself; the squad and the staff are capable of. We've got a good run of fixtures coming up and it's important we put in a performance tomorrow night which can get us the points. We've have limited time on the training pitch so we're trying to cram things in because I think it's important at this time we don't spend too much time on the training ground and take the energy away from the lads when it's most important, which is obviously matchday.”
After Saturday, is the job perhaps bigger than you thought?
“Not really because I had a good understanding of the squad before I came in - I had watched a lot of the games and spoken to people. It was a tough game (Wycombe), we deserved something from it. We had a lot of possession, certainly in the second half, but we didn't make enough of that possession and that's something we've got to look at. Can we be more effective as a team? There were a lot of good elements in the play so we've got to take them into Tuesday and add to them.”
Can you train much when you have so many games in a short schedule?
“Obviously when you come into a club there is so much you would like to do, but you've got to be careful because the most important thing is that the lads don't leave their legs on the training pitch. We've got to get that balance right, and the freshness, the energy and the mental brightness of the players is right going into tomorrow's game. I've sensed a determination among the players - they are really desperate to do well. There's a balance to be struck there too - they are desperate to do well but we have to play with a calmness as well and a clear understanding of what we have to do in each and every game.”
How do you feel Lee Burge did on Saturday?
“I thought Lee did very well. Obviously, I had looked at the games prior to coming in and Lee and done exceptionally well in the cup games, Jon had probably dipped below what he's capable of. We've got good competition in that place. I think to say Lee's the No 1 at this stage is too early. There's just good competition between the two of them and wherever I've been, in any club, it's good to have two keepers pushing each other in training and getting better standards out of each other. I'm sure Lee and Jon will do that.”
Does it give Jon McLaughlin a chance to refocus?
“I worked with Jon at Bradford and he's had a very good career of late, playing international football as well. He's a good goalkeeper, but not only that, he's a good professional, and he took the decision the right way. That's important for any player - it's all right being a good squad member when you're in the team and everything is going well, but when you get left out it's conducting yourself the right way. Jon certainly did that, and credit to him.”
Clean sheets - how big a concern is that for you?
“It's obviously a concern because to get to where we need to be we have to address that. It's one of a few areas which have got to be improved on.”
How's Charlie Wyke?
“Unfortunately, Charlie's ankle doesn't look too good. He's gone for a scan and we're waiting for the results of that.”
Any other major injury concerns?
“Nothing fresh from the weekend. Obviously Aiden McGeady got his fifth booking so he'll miss Tuesday night's game, which is obviously a blow for us because he's a key player and produced some moments of real quality at the weekend. But it gives other players an opportunity. Myself and Steve (Parkin) are new into the job and we're looking at all the players to stake a claim.”
Are Sunderland creating enough chances?
“I don't think we can hide away from that - the stats back it up. It's utilising the possession we have during games and being more effective with that. It's something we're looking at and trying to address in the short time we have on the training ground. We need to create chances for our goalscorers and I'm confident that if we do we have the players who can put the ball into the back of the net.”
You had a lot of attacking-minded players on the pitch at Wycombe
“We had a lot of talent at the weekend, and we controlled the game for long periods, had a goal ruled out which was onside so Charlie was a bit unlucky with that one and their keeper pulled off a great save from Aiden. But we're all honest enough to say the moments of quality were too few and far between, and that's something we've got to improve on.”
Are you tempted to change your approach for Tranmere?
“Tranmere will be bring an different approach than Wycombe did. I imagine they will sit back and try to frustrate us and slow the game down, and we've got to be prepared for that. We've spoken to the lads about how we're going to try to break them down. The lads who have been here a while are used to that when teams come to the Stadium of Light.”
Have you noticed negativity from the fans?
“The supporters were great at the weekend - they got right behind the team. I'm sure the supporters will be right behind us tomorrow. The team includes the supporters - it's team on the pitch, the staff and the supporters. Everyone who comes in the ground tomorrow has got to help us and play their part in getting us back to winning ways. I'm determined to do everything I can to bring success for the supporters, but equally there is a big part for them to play and I'm looking forward to seeing them get right behind the lads.”
It's not going to be easy to get into an automatic place?
“It's still achievable - there's so much of the season left to play. But we've got no divine right to be there, we've got to earn it. The name of the club won't give us three points, it's what we do in the 90 minutes on a Saturday or Tuesday evening. We've got to improve the performance level, but I'm confident that we will.”