Former Sunderland defender Kevin Kilbane has branded his old club a "graveyard".

Kilbane wrote in the Daily Mail: "Sunderland has become a graveyard for managers, and players. Martin O'Neill had a 29 per cent success rate and was the second most successful Sunderland manager in the Premier League, behind Peter Reid on 33 per cent. And I was there when Reidy was hounded out.

"Steve Bruce, Mick McCarthy and Martin O'Neill don't become bad managers overnight, but they all found it tough going in the Premier League with Sunderland.

"Now, my own time there was not the happiest of my career and my relationship with some fans is well documented. It can't help that my best spell in 100-plus games was the season we were relegated.

"But I wasn't the only one among team-mates to suffer. I found that unless the team made a blazing start to every home game, the fans would get frustrated quickly, and volubly. And I look at Adam Johnson and James McClean and I don't see international wingers - I see nervous boys struggling to cope with the pressure."