Sbragia happy to be rid of dissenteers

RICKY SBRAGIA feels Sunderland is a happier place to manage after ridding the club of the dressing room dissenters and whisperers.

During the transfer window Sbragia stamped his mark on the squad, trimming it to what he now describes as a “workable” level.

The likes of Pascal Chimbonda and El Hadji Diouf could certainly be viewed as the likely disruptive influences Sbragia moved on.

In terms of cutting back on numbers, Sbragia also released – either on loan or via a permanent deal – Liam Miller, Graham Kavanagh, Roy O’Donovan and Michael Chopra.

“From my point of view the numbers now are workable,” said Sbragia on a vast squad he inherited from former boss Roy Keane.

“There were 22 in training the other day, and I would say that was the best it’s been since I took over.

“It means now we’ve maybe nine players not whispering, not happy and disrupting the dressing room.

“We’ve not got players drifting around, complaining, whilst we (the coaching staff) were trying to work out what to do with them.

“There were too many whispers going on behind my back.

“Players who are unhappy maybe don’t see light at the end of the tunnel, so start whispering, disrupting the dressing room.

“I want players to be realistic if they are not playing.

“But the squad I’ve got now I’m really pleased with. They’ve gelled and worked hard together.

“The atmosphere downstairs is absolutely brilliant. With that negativity gone, I feel it has made a difference in terms of the results.

“Sometimes players will blame other players, but now they’ve no excuse.

“Whoever has gone, has gone now, so it’s up to the 22 players here to get us higher up that table.”

Sbragia, meanwhile, is to take his players to Seville next week to escape the “boring” training ground.

Sbragia feels some warm weather will aid the club in their battle to beat the drop from the Premier League.

“We’re going to go away to Seville for a few days and do a bit of training there, and hopefully get on track,” commented Sbragia

“We need to get away from the training ground. I think it’s a bit boring coming to the same place all the time.

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