SUNDERLAND owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has backed manager Lee Johnson and says he is a long term appointment for the club. 

Johnson recently led the Black Cats to a fourth place finish in League One but they came up short in the play-offs losing 3-2 on aggregate in the semi finals to Lincoln City.

The current Sunderland boss was appointed back in December last year succeeding Phil Parkinson at the Stadium of Light. 

Louis-Dreyfus completed his takeover in February and he admits that even after a failed promotion campaign, the Sunderland boss isn't going anywhere. 

"Lee Johnson was a long-term appointment from the start" Louis-Dreyfus told Talksport. 

"We all knew that regardless of the outcome of the season that he would be with us next season and I think he is the right man to lead us to promotion, hopefully, in the forthcoming season."

"I was disappointed like everyone else that the season didn't finish as we expected it to finish, however at the same time I do feel positive and I am looking forward to next season, even in League One.

"Once you are in the play-offs, anything can happen and unfortunately we fell short over the two legs against Lincoln, however I think the players deserve credit. They tried their best and it just didn't work out for us this time."

The squad has begun the process of rebuilding after announcing it's retained list last night. 

Max Power, Grant Leadbitter and Chris Maguire are among a group of seven senior players to have been released along with Callum MacFadzean, Conor McLaughlin, Josh Scowen and Remi Matthews.

Denver Hume, Luke O’Nien and Aiden McGeady will be offered new contracts at the Stadium of Light, although it remains to be seen whether they accept and opt to extend their time on Wearside given there is known to be interest in all three players from elsewhere.

Sunderland officials have also held talks with Charlie Wyke over a new deal, with last season’s leading goalscorer the subject of strong competing interest from clubs in both the Championship and League One.

The Black Cats have also excercised the option to extend Ollie Younger's deal at the club for another 12 months. 

"We announced our squad list for next season yesterday and there were a number of departures who will need to be replaced" said Louis-Dreyfus.

"Over the last few months we have recruited a lot of people across the industry, like Stuart Harvey (Head Of Recruitment) and Kristjaan Speakman (Sporting Director), so I trust that we have a good team in place to look for the best possible replacements."