Defiant Sunderland boss David Moyes does not believe a bruising first season on Wearside has left his reputation in tatters.
The 54-year-old Scot has accepted his share of the blame for a relegation which has ended the club’s 10-year stay in the Premier League having admitted just two games into the campaign that they were in trouble.
However, despite the testing spells at Manchester United and Real Sociedad which preceded his arrival at Sunderland, he is confident his standing in the game remains intact ahead of an end-of-season meeting with owner Ellis Short that will determine his fate.
Moyes said: “I came here knowing exactly what the task was going to be. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen behind the scenes.
“In football, sometimes you win games. I have said it, I’m saying it to defend myself – I have a great win record at nearly all the clubs I have been at. This is the only anomaly where it hasn’t happened.
“But I have got to say, it hasn’t happened for quite a few managers and it has been that way for quite a while.”
In Moyes’ defence, he replaced Sam Allardyce at the Stadium of Light at a time when Short was looking to rein in spending amid mounting debts and hoping to offload a business which has become increasingly dependent upon his financial largesse.
His summer rebuilding work was conducted hurriedly and increasingly desperately and with funding drying up, he found himself shopping in the bargain basement.
Asked if it had been a horrible season, the former Everton boss said: “Of course it has because of the outcome, and we have said we have been really disappointed by it. It’s not been great.
“We made everybody well aware that our squad was short from the start. We also would have liked to have added in January.
“We knew we were experienced enough to understand what it would take to stay up and from the start, we were always playing catch-up, really.
“You always look back and I would always look first at myself to see what I could have done differently. There are some bits along the journey where you would say, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have done that or done this’, but ultimately they’re not the reasons why we are in the position we are in.”
Sunderland head for Arsenal on Tuesday evening and Chelsea on Sunday knowing things could get significantly worse before they get better, particularly if they play as poorly as they did in losing 2-0 at home to Swansea on Saturday.
Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer described the performance as “disgraceful” and “pathetic”, and Moyes did not argue with that assessment.
He said: “I’d have to say that I think in many ways, he was right. I was incredibly disappointed with the performance.
“I don’t think any player ever goes out to try to perform like that. There were some reasons for it, but I’m actually privy to the stats, I can see the physical stats and on much of that, I couldn’t disagree.”