MIKE Dodds hammered his Sunderland players in a furious rant after what he described as a "pathetic and completely unacceptable" performance in the humiliating 5-1 hammering at home to Blackburn.

Seething Dodds said he wished he was able to substitute all of his players in the second half, as the Black Cats crumbled to their heaviest defeat of the season.

And he delivered a clear message to his players: "If they want to play for this football club then they're going to have to deliver a better performance than that. If they don't, then they won't play."

Sunderland were looking to build on their impressive win at Cardiff on Good Friday but the Championship's top scorer Sammie Szmodics set Blackburn on their way with a quickfire first half double and the Black Cats never recovered.

Ryan Hedges and Tyrhys Dolan put the game out of sight early in the second half and Andrew Moran sealed the thumping after Chris Rigg's consolation.

"It's a bad result and an even worse performance," fumed Dodds.

"It's completely unacceptable and I don't say that lightly. That's probably the best word I can find. It's a game we've got to use to demonstrate to this young group that one week you think you've cracked it, and 48 hours later you're completely humbled. I'm really, really angry. It's a completely unacceptable performance.

"We felt sorry for ourselves, there was a huge amount I didn't like both in and out of possession, Blackburn were deserved winners and I don't like saying that on our own patch. As head coach I have to take responsibility for it, when they're back in for training there are going to be some uncomfortable conversations but they need to be had if we're to move forward."


Dodds continued: "All the goals are our mistakes, it's a cr*p performance and I can't pick anyone out in the team that deserves any credit. I could have subbed the whole team when I made the changes in the second half. We're going to have to reflect and use it as motivation, use it as a huge learning curve - it's completely unacceptable.

"We conceded two soft goals that were completely our fault and then we felt sorry for ourselves, I don't label it at this group very often but that has left me furious. I don't think it's completely fair to say Blackburn wanted it more but I can see why it looked and felt like that.

"The first two goals are completely avoidable so we leave ourselves a mountain to climb, and then we concede a minute after half time after some choice words. After that point, we looked completely sorry for ourselves and we looked pathetic if I'm honest.

"I have to take that because I always say the team should be a reflection of the coach, and I don't think that's a reflection of me.

"We're not going to sweep that under the carpet, if the players want to play for me and Sunderland football club then they are going to have to put a lot more in. If not, they won't pull the shirt on."