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Sunderland caretaker Ball warns players: Don't take the mick

Sunderland caretaker boss Kevin Ball has warned his players not to take the mick ahead of today's game with Liverpool.

Ball is demanding that the side play with pride against Brendan Rodgers' Reds.

He said: "You play for your own pride. I played under a few caretakers at Portsmouth. There was John Gregory for a while and I got on great with him. Frank Burrows changed a lot of things when he took over and Alan Ball was caretaker boss before he took over.

"Subconsciously, some players might? think, 'He's only the caretaker'.

"But you would like to think that their pride would drive them to be the best they can be.

"There may have been an element when I was caretaker in 2006 - when there were only ten games left and let's face it, we were getting relegated irrespective - that the players could have thought of me as a supply teacher.

"But this time, that can't be the case because the club might say, 'Right, we want you to take over now'. If a player, in this short period, has acted like that, he's not going to be in the supply teacher's good books, is he? Respect has to be earned and I understand that.

"But I would like to think that with my history as a player and people knowing what I was like, it would be a two-way thing. I have to respect them too."

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