Sunderland’s Ball won’t push for big decision

Kevin Ball.
Kevin Ball.
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KEVIN Ball says he does not plan to knock on the boardroom door this week demanding to know what progress is being made on the vacant manager’s position.

The interim head coach has made it clear that he would like to become the permanent one, following the sacking of Paolo Di Canio eight days ago.

Ball, though, says that given Sunderland’s current plight at the bottom of the table, focusing on the team over the next few days has to take precedence over everything else.

“I’ve no idea about whether or not I’ll be in charge next week against Manchester United, but I won’t be going knocking on any doors,” he said, following yesterday’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, a game watched by chairman Ellis Short.

“The board is very good in letting me know what I need to know when I need to know it and I’ll hear during the week whether I’m in charge for Manchester United next Saturday.

“And whatever I hear will be fine by me.

“In all honesty, my first thoughts at the moment are going through the Liverpool game again with the players.”

Ball did not want to go through a lengthy inquest immediately after the match itself, preferring instead to praise the disappointed players for their efforts and let them know he was happy with them.

But he was quick to say there was plenty to work on. He said: “Liverpool’s first goal came off their player’s arm, but it still wasn’t good defending from our point of view.

“You are always going to be susceptible to the counter-attack against players of the quality of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

“But you are disappointed to concede from a set-play when you’ve got the bodies in the box, so you do have to ask if we could have done better than that. And we do have to find the balance between attack and defence.

“Lee Cattermole broke up a lot of their counter-attacking play – he’s had two games in a week and has done really well – but we do have to look at things defensively because we’re conceding too many (three in each of the last four Premier League matches).

“So we have plenty to talk about it and we’ll start the week by going through the game with the players.

“But I was pleased with the shift we put in and the players should take heart from it.

“It would have been nice to have come out with something because there’s no doubt we need the points, but the fact we lost wasn’t for the want of trying.

“Going forward, we have to keep driving that improvement on.”