Cisse response pleases Sbragia
Black Cats boss hails striker's attitude
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: May 14, 2009 1:01pm
Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia insists Djibril Cisse remains fully committed to the club's survival battle.
The Frenchman was dropped to the bench for last week's goalless draw at Bolton, with the Black Cats opting to deploy Kenwyne Jones as a lone frontman.
Cisse did make a positive impression following his introduction 18 minutes from time, coming as close as anyone to forcing a breakthrough.
While he was understandably disappointed to be omitted form the starting XI, Sbragia is adamant the 28-year-old did not question the decision and believes he will continue to do his best for the collective cause.
"I picked a team at Bolton that I thought would get us something," Sbragia told the Sunderland Echo.
"I felt that it was the time to make a change up front and that meant Kenwyne starting the game in a changed formation.
"I know Djib is disappointed - everyone who was left out of the team should be disappointed and we have to deal with that, explain the decisions and make sure everyone knows they have a part to play in keeping this club in the Premier League.
"Djib was good in the dressing room before the game and has trained well this week, so he's had the right response."
Speculation persists as to where Cisse's long-term future may lie, with his loan agreement from Marseille set to expire at the end of the season.
Sbragia has given no indication as to whether he will be looking to make the move permanent, insisting his sole focus at present is to ensure that Sunderland will be playing Premier League football next term.
He said: "We've got three players on loan at the moment - Djib, Calum Davenport and Tal Ben-Haim - and I imagine they would all like to have some security over their futures.
"There have been a lot of reports in the newspapers, but all the lads know that the important thing for the club is to get over the line as far as making sure we stay in the Premier League, and then we can make certain decisions.
"Footballers want to win football games and I'm sure that will be Djib's attitude in the last two games of the season."