The Black Cats sit in the Premier League relegation places after eight games, and Michael Gray has told talkSPORT that the players to are to blame for their on-pitch failures, not recent departed head coach Dick Advocaat.
The Sunderland legend said: “You’ve got to start pointing the finger at players. Some of the players who got the first manager the sack [Paolo Di Canio] are still there. They are still playing. Why are they still there? Why are these players still playing at my football club, still under-performing, but still getting picked on a weekly basis.”
Gray certainly takes a logical approach to the issues which have plagued Sunderland, considering the lack of impact any new manager has had at the Stadium of Light.
There are players who remain on Wearside who continue to prove they are not the quality needed for the Premier League, with the likes of Steve Fletcher, Jack Rodwell and Wes Brown all existing from previous management regimes.
Advocaat had to come in and work with what he was give, and managed to keep the Wearside outfit in the Premier League last season.
However, after an extended period of time with the side, it became clear that the rot had set in deep within the squad, and unfortunately for the next head coach appointed, he will also have to work with what is given to him.
If Sunderland are to truly recover from their gradual decay, the next boss needs to take a bold stance with the state of his squad, and remove any players who are under-performing, before deciding how to move forward with the side.