Sunderland’s Kevin Ball: I’ll do it my way

Sunderland caretaker manager Kevin Ball.
Sunderland caretaker manager Kevin Ball.
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KEVIN BALL says he will do it his way while he is charge of Sunderland – and that goes for the visit of Liverpool this weekend.

The interim head coach has already shaken things up at the Stadium of Light in terms of selection and tactics since Paolo Di Canio was removed from his post on Sunday.

Ball introduced a 4-4-1-1 system in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup game against Peterborough United, instead of the Italian’s preferred 4-2-4 formation.

He also restored out-of-favour ex-skipper – heavily criticised by Di Canio in the dressing room after last weekend’s defeat at West Brom – to the starting line-up.

The new system – likely to be retained for Sunday’s Stadium of Light showdown – worked successfully on Tuesday, with summer signing Emanuele Giaccherini revelling in a more central role behind Jozy Altidore.

Recalled midfielder Lee Cattermole repaid Ball’s faith with a man-of-the-match performance.

And Ball says he will continue to call it as he sees it, even if that means making changes and difficult decisions – such as dropping players who believe they should be in the side.

“The other manager had his own prerogatives and fair play to him,” Ball noted.

“But, from my point of view, the club has said I’m possibly only here as caretaker until Sunday and, within that remit, I intend to choose exactly the team that I think will win us each particular game.

“The way I do it is to sit down and explain to the players how we’re going to play and who is going to be in the side and why.

“Some will accept it, some will be upset, but that’s how it is.

“I had one player before the Peterborough game who was quite upset because he wasn’t playing and I respected that.

“He was upset because he really wanted to play and I thought fair play to him because he really wanted to play. It’s good that you have players who want to play for this club.

“I explained to him why he wasn’t playing and he was OK. He understood.”

Unlike Di Canio’s dictatorial style, Ball plans to be more inclusive and work on relationships with players in the time he has available.

Ahead of the Liverpool game, he said: “I think it is important to have a two-way conversation with players because, ultimately, when they cross the white line they have to be buying into what you want as a coach.

“There are certain times to do certain things, which I’m sure they will understand as well.

“We will watch stuff, we will go back to the players with stuff, but we’ll make it clear to them that everything we are doing is designed to help them win a game.”

Ball planned to use today as a major preparation day after giving the players yesterday off and said he was looking to organise a practice game for those players who were not involved on Tuesday night.