LONDON, Nov 20 — Former Wales boss Chris Coleman said the chance to turn around Sunderland’s fortunes was an opportunity too good to refuse despite the daunting task of lifting the club off the bottom of the Championship.
The 47-year-old surprised many by ending a hugely successful stint as Wales manager to join the former Premier League side on a two-and-a-half-year contract.
Coleman is Sunderland’s ninth manager in the past six seasons and takes over after the club from northeast England set an unwanted record on Saturday by failing to win for the 20th home game in succession.
Coleman acknowledged the size of the task in front of him, but told Sunderland’s website: “Someone’s going to turn this club around.
“Whether it’s me or whether it’s the next one, sooner or later this club will start climbing again, start playing in front of a full house again, get the city rocking and rolling. I want that to be me, of course.
“You can go through your career as a manager and never manage a big club. I always wanted to have that experience of managing a big club, and here I am.”
Coleman led his first training session on Sunday and will be in charge of the side, relegated from the Premier League under former manager David Moyes last season, for the first time for Tuesday’s trip to Aston Villa.
After guiding a Gareth Bales-inspired Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, he stepped down last week following the disappointment of missing out on qualification for the World Cup.
Coleman revealed a disagreement with the Welsh hierarchy led to his departure, saying: “Having achieved what we’d achieved, I thought to take it on to the next level I needed to work slightly differently.
“And the powers that be in Wales saw it differently to me. In my experience it was the right time for me to say, ‘OK, that’s as far as I’m going to take it’. Pretty quickly really the opportunity came about with Sunderland.” — AFP