New manager Phil Parkinson has told Sunderland to forget their Premier League past as they attempt to drag themselves out of League One.
The 51-year-old former Bolton boss was appointed as Jack Ross’ replacement on Thursday, when he signed a two and a half-year deal and accepted the challenge of securing promotion from the third tier this season.
It is only two years and five months since the Black Cats slipped out of the top flight and then unthinkably the following season, exited the Sky Bet Championship from the wrong end, and Parkinson is adamant that they must accept mentally that they are no longer a Premier League outfit if they want to head back towards it.
Speaking as he was unveiled at a press conference at the Academy of Light on Thursday afternoon, he said: “The size of the stadium won’t win us football games, it’s about the desire and commitment we show on a week-to-week basis.
“You’ve got to ally the quality we have in the team with that desire and that real hunger to win games of football because there is absolutely no given in any league in English football because the games are all so tight.”
Parkinson, who has guided Colchester, Bradford and Bolton to promotion during his 16 years to date as a manager, is the 12th permanent manager to take the Sunderland job since Roy Keane’s reign ended in December 2008, and is relishing the opportunity to prove he can succeed where perhaps bigger names have failed.
He said: “I have faced a lot of challenges in my career and I’m proud of my CV and what I’ve achieved.
“But obviously the stature of this club, it’s probably the biggest one, but I’m relishing it. In my mind, I really do fell and I be and – I would love to be – the manager who gets this club off and running again.
“I feel it’s achievable, but it’s to work straight away. It’s going to take a lot of hard work both on and off the pitch for everybody connected with the club, but I do believe we can achieve it.”
The Black Cats, who head for Wycombe on Saturday, missed out on promotion last season after a play-off final defeat by Charlton, and righting that wrong is the prime task handed to the manager by chairman Stewart Donald, who is still seeking new investment.
Parkinson said: “It’s got to be the ambition. You’d be crazy if you spoke to a potential manager and said, ‘We’re happy to just tick along nicely this season’.
“They want someone who is ambitious, who has achieved promotions before and knows what it takes to get over the finishing line.”
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