Former Sunderland manager David Moyes has admitted that even Antonio Conte couldn’t have prevented the Black Cats from relegation to the Championship last season.
Sunderland finished bottom of the Premier League table with just 24 points to their name, and Moyes resigned following a hugely disappointing campaign.
And the Scotsman has now reflected on what was a “tough season”, in which his side won just six league games.
“I think Harry Redknapp got it right when he said Antonio Conte couldn’t have kept up Sunderland last season,” Moyes told the Daily Mail.
“It was a squad that was not at Premier League level. And a squad that had been beaten up a few times and come very close to relegation before. It needed refreshing, but it wasn’t possible because of the finances we had available.
“I wasn’t aware of all the issues Sunderland had — the amount of debt, the players they had to pay back, I wasn’t aware of that. And I wasn’t aware of the detail in some of the contracts players had, in terms of being able to leave and so on.
“It was a tough season. Not what I expected. And it was disappointing because I wasn’t able to get the results that maybe in years gone by I would have done. But I think there were mitigating circumstances.”
Despite the disappointment of his time with Sunderland, that followed difficult spells at Manchester United and Real Sociedad, Moyes expressed his desire to make a return to management.
“Look at Manchester United,” he said. “It’s taken them a few hundred million to get them in a good order. At Real Sociedad, we kept them up, we did the job we had to do there. The only one that looks a little bit out of sync is Sunderland. And it was probably the hardest to take. I think my record of losing two games in a row was minimal.
“I’d go back to the training ground, find a way. But last year I couldn’t get it to work, and it was getting me down because I was losing. That was my first relegation and I hope it’ll be my last.
“In the end my decision to resign was both difficult and easy. There’s a sense of wanting to get it right. I want that winning feeling again.”