Sunderland's David Moyes expresses 'surprise' at reaction to 'slap' threat

Miguel Delaney
The Independent
Asked about the week, Moyes said he was surprised by some of the criticism he'd received: Getty
Asked about the week, Moyes said he was surprised by some of the criticism he'd received: Getty

David Moyes revealed he has been “surprised” by the reaction and criticism he has faced since Monday, when footage emerged of the Sunderland manager joking to a reporter that she “might get a slap” if the tone of questions was repeated. The 53-year-old even appeared to suggest that he felt the only reason he faced such a response was because of how high-profile football has now become.

Moyes’ week only got worse as Sunderland lost 2-0 to Leicester City, leaving them eight points adrift of safety with just eight games to play, although his club did release a statement backing him while also acknowledging the “utmost seriousness” of his comments.

Asked about the week, Moyes said he was surprised by some of the criticism but that he “expected” support from the club.

Sunderland succumbed to yet another defeat (Getty)
Sunderland succumbed to yet another defeat (Getty)

“I’ve been surprised in many ways, but I’ve done my job with the players, get them prepared, organise them, get the best team out we possibly can," he said. "Try to see how we can win them. We watch a lot of the videos to see Leicester’s strength. We do all our preparations.

“I think the world of football is a great business now. I think it employs an incredible amount of people, whether it be through the media or in the training grounds. And for that reason, football’s a big talking point.”

“I think it was great that you get that support from the club, and I expected it,” Moyes went on.

The Sunderland manager also insisted it did not make it any more difficult to concentrate on the Leicester match, and thought it was a good performance, where only “small things” went against his team.

“Not difficult at all. I went about my job, prepared my players,” he said.

“There’s a lot of small things on the field. But it’s mainly to do with tactical solutions, player solutions. We’ve had a lot of injuries. Small things. There’s a lot of small things I would like to fix.

“Getting Victor Anichebe back will help a little bit. I’m not saying he was going to score us 10 or 20 goals, but he will help us make more opportunities. We had some great deliveries from corner kicks. So you couldn’t say it was anything to do with the deliveries. We just needed someone to put a head on them. We need people to score from the edge of the box. If Victor’s goes in off the point, everybody would have got a lift.”

He did accept it would be a lot tougher to stay up, and that they probably need some unexpected wins against big opposition.

“We needed to win one of these two away games [against Leicester and Watford, a 1-0 defeat on Saturday]. What I didn’t put down was a win against a Manchester United or an Arsenal or a Chelsea in my remaining fixtures. I now have to win at least one of those.”

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