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‘We respect’: Sunderland’s Dan Ballard addresses club’s head coach situation under Mike Dodds after West Brom

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Dan Ballard expressed his increased admiration for Mike Dodds, Sunderland’s interim head coach, following a challenging yet transformative period for the team. Dodds assumed the interim coaching role in February amid a difficult stretch for the Black Cats, enduring four consecutive losses after Michael Beale’s departure. Despite initial setbacks, Dodds steered the team towards significant improvement, evidenced by five clean sheets in their last six games.

Reflecting on Sunderland’s recent performances, Ballard noted the team’s defensive solidity under Dodds’ guidance, with an acknowledgment of a slight reduction in attacking output. Nonetheless, Ballard praised Dodds’ tactical acumen and credited him for adeptly organizing the team week after week. He highlighted Dodds’ humility and dedication, particularly in shouldering responsibility for setbacks like the 5-1 defeat against Blackburn.

Acknowledging Dodds’ impending role transition, Ballard emphasized the deepening respect and appreciation among the players for Dodds’ contributions. Despite the increased pressure and scrutiny accompanying his interim coaching stint, Dodds’ commitment to the team and tireless work ethic have earned him the admiration of the squad.

Looking ahead, regardless of Sunderland’s coaching decisions, Ballard emphasized the unwavering support and respect the players hold for Dodds. His dedication, both on and off the pitch, has solidified his standing within the team, ensuring his continued influence and impact within the Sunderland setup.

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