Former Manchester United and Manchester City midfielder Owen Hargreaves has told BT Sport’s Football Tonight show that Sunderland do not have an identity.
The 34-year-old made the comments following the dismissal of Gus Poyet as the Black Cats’ manager on Monday.
“What is the identity of Sunderland?” the former England international told BT Sport’s Football Tonight show on Monday. “Are they an attacking team? I don’t think that they have a clear identity.
“You look at West Brom. They are a very defensive and organised team, and hit teams on the counter-attack.
“Villa are similar. They have quite a lot of attacking players now and are quick to break. I think this (Sunderland) team doesn’t have an identity, and whoever comes in needs to sort that identity out.”
It is a big statement from Hargreaves that Sunderland do not have an identity, but perhaps he is right.
The Black Cats are essentially a Premier League club who are just happy to remain in the English top flight.
Last season, Sunderland narrowly escaped relegation to the Championship, and this time they are facing a similar situation.
Of course, it is easy to claim that Sunderland need to have an identity, but it takes time and a clear plan.
One should not expect new manager Dick Advocaat to make Sunderland an attacking team right away.
The objective of this season is clear: avoid relegation from the Premier League at all costs.
The fact that Advocaat has been given a contract until the end of the campaign shows that, at the moment, the Sunderland bosses are concerned with ensuring Premier League status for next season.