MICHAEL BEALE claims he is "perplexed and bemused" by the criticism that has been levelled at him in the wake of last Friday’s home defeat to Hull City.

The Sunderland boss was jeered by his own supporters at the Stadium of Light, with a significant section of the home support singing “You’re getting sacked in the morning” in the wake of Fabio Carvalho’s second-half winner and chanting “We want Beale out” at the final whistle.

The anger and frustration has remained evident on social media in the last few days, with a poll on popular fans’ website, Wise Men Say, ending with 91 per cent of respondents stating that the current head coach should be dismissed.

Sunderland return to action when they host Stoke City on Saturday, with the atmosphere at the Stadium of Light once again likely to be febrile. If the Black Cats win at the weekend, they will return to the verge of the play-off positions, something Beale feels should not be lost amid the mounting unhappiness.

“There’s a huge crisis at this football club? We’re the youngest team in the league, we haven’t got the biggest budget and we’re sat three points outside the play-offs with a home game coming up,” said Beale, who has lost four of his seven matches since replacing Tony Mowbray.

“I’m a little bit perplexed and bemused by the outside thing. The change was made by the club. We’d won two in nine before the change was made. In the next nine league games, the team has won four.

“For me, there’s an ongoing issue that we’re not scoring enough goals. We’re scoring a goal per game in the last 18 or 19 and we need to try and rectify that. But we need all the support from the outside and the focus needs to stay on the team, I think.”


Beale’s appointment was relatively unpopular from the start, with the former QPR boss having been sacked from his most recent position in charge of Rangers last October.

He admitted he would face a battle to win over the supporters from the moment he accepted the offer to replace Mowbray, but has now accepted there could be some fans that are never on his side.

“We’ve just lost two close games, so off the back of that there’s obviously anxiety in the fanbase because we want to do well,” he said. “We’re in a similar position to when I took over, so there’s still a lot to play for.

“I think some people weren’t happy when I arrived before I even started playing a game, so we have to just play the next game that’s in front of us.

“I’m delighted with the way the players are working behind the scenes and the togetherness of the group. I just have to keep working with the players and if the results go our way it will change some people’s opinion. But some people may never (change), so I have to face that as a fact really.”

Since losing to Newcastle United in the FA Cup, Sunderland have suffered one-goal defeats to both Ipswich and Hull. Neither performance was especially impressive, but Beale remains convinced his side were unfortunate not to have won at least one of those games.

“The last two games in particular have been very harsh on us,” he said. “They were two close games. We had more possession than Ipswich at their stadium, we had considerably more than Hull at our stadium, so to come out of both games losing to set-plays is disappointing.

“We’d like the team to play better in the final third, a little bit quicker and they’re the things we’re working on. But in terms of what the players in house are giving me, I’m absolutely delighted in their work ethic every day, but everyone is aware of the noise in the background. All we can focus on is the next game.”