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Sbragia appointed Sunderland boss

Ricky Sbragia
Sbragia has impressed since taking over from Roy Keane

Sunderland have appointed caretaker boss Ricky Sbragia as their new manager on an 18-month contract.

The Scot, 52, has been handed the job after an impressive spell which saw Sunderland win two games, draw one and lose just once to Manchester United.

Sbragia succeeds Roy Keane, who resigned on 4 December with the club in the bottom three of the Premier League.

"Ricky took up the reins when we were at a low ebb and has revitalised the club," said chairman Niall Quinn.

"We have been taken aback by how easily he has slotted into the managerial role and are really heartened by his intelligent approach in dealing with the players and the day-to-day rigours of the job.


"He is the unanimous choice of the executive board and will receive every support in his new role. The ownership of the club have also fully endorsed the appointment.

"I'm sure all of our fans, and the players too, will give Ricky their full backing in his first senior management position."

Sbragia, who joined the club as first-team coach a year ago, had played down his chances of becoming the new manager when he took over following Keane's sudden departure.

More than 30 candidates had shown interest in the position, with established names such as Alan Curbishley, Phil Brown, Avram Grant, Louis van Gaal and Gerard Houllier all being linked with the club.

But the former Manchester United and Bolton coach made an immediate impression in galvanising the side.

After a stoppage-time defeat by Manchester United in his first match in charge, Sbragia steered the Black Cats out of the bottom three with a 4-0 thrashing of West Brom and a 4-1 win over Hull.

With the transfer window due to open on 1 January, the Sunderland board decided to give the Scot the job full-time following Boxing Day's 0-0 draw with Blackburn.

Sbragia, whose side take on Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday, said: "I'm delighted to have been offered the opportunity to manage a club as big as Sunderland and I'm relishing the challenge ahead.

"My main priority is moving up the Premier League table and ensuring we have unity and stability at the club.

"I've been extremely pleased by the commitment shown by the players to date and the support we have all received from the fans."

Sbragia has been given the go-ahead to strengthen his squad during the transfer window, and has already indicated he will be looking for an experienced defender.

In addition, he is checking on the positions of the 10 players the club has out on loan.

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see also
Everton v Sunderland
27 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Sunderland 0-0 Blackburn
26 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Hull 1-4 Sunderland
20 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Sbragia coy over permanent role
20 Dec 08 |  Sunderland
Sunderland 4-0 West Brom
13 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Man Utd 1-0 Sunderland
06 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Keane resigns as Sunderland boss
04 Dec 08 |  Sunderland

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