Phil Parkinson has given a big update on Sunderland AFC and their future, including transfers, player contracts, certain individuals and next season.
The Black Cats boss was a guest on Thursday night's Total Sport show on BBC Radio Newcastle where he discussed a range of topics.
You can listen back to the interview in full here, but below is a full transcript of everything Parkinson said including on summer transfer plans and his hopes for next season.
On the season and the way it ended
"It's been hugely frustrating to watch it all unfold and play out like it has. It's frustrating.
"The overall run leading up to lockdown, I think in 16 games we took 31 points, but unfortunately in the last few games we dipped in our form and in our points return, and that proved costly.
"So yeah, hugely frustrating for everybody - our staff, the players and of course the supporters.
"Unfortunately, all we can do is look forward and make sure we're stronger going into next season."
On the decision to curtail the season
"When I was on the call with the EFL a couple of weeks before the decision, it was suggested by the EFL themselves that there could be an extension of the plays offs because of the nature of the top of League One and how tight it was.
"It was they who suggested that.
"We were very keen for the season to finish normally, but if not, to at least have the extended play-off version.
"It conspired that they went with the same format as League Two."
On how he manages during lockdown, and how he plans ahead?
"There are many challenges which lay ahead for all clubs, but I think we are the best equipped in the division to cope with it.
"There's talk of a salary cap which is a contentious issue which needs resolving. Hopefully we find a solution to that next week.
"Obviously we also need a start date to the season because until we get that we can't really plan pre-season. We're hoping it's going to be September 13, or around that time, and then we can plan pre-season for the first week in August."
On summer recruitment plans
"The recruitment process is in place and we've had a lot of meetings over Zoom to put our plans in place.
"We've also spoken to players and agents over calls like that also.
"We're looking to piece the squad together and get players in in the positions we feel we need to strengthen, to make us stronger than we were last year.
"After Christmas last year we went on a very good run, and I feel we're going to have the core of that team in place. So if we bring in seven or eight players who are of better quality then we're going to have a great chance of having a better points-per-game ratio, which we're going to need if we're going to be at the top of the division.
"So yeah, we're looking at getting around seven to eight players. Just like any summer it's about being patient and making sure you get the best players that are available within your budget.
"That's what we're trying to do. Look at all possible scenarios and then get the best possible players in to make us really strong.
On Tom Flanagan's contract situation
"Tom Flanagan has a contract offer on the table. We're in negotiations with another player who I feel we're close to getting a deal done with.
"I don't think we're too far away with Flanno.
"Over the next couple of days we've got to progress that one and try and push it over the line. Both parties know where we stand.
"Flanno is a good lad, he's been reasonable, and we need to get that deal progressed sooner rather than later."
On Will Grigg
"Will is a player who, since I’ve been at the club, gets mentioned in every press conference because of the size of the fee and the expectations when he came to the club.
"He’s our player and he’s got to come back in pre-season and prove that he’s ready to stake a claim for a place in the team.
"I’ve spoken to him in the last week or so. He’s got to get his personal situation worked out and get up and into the area so he’s not commuting up and down as much, and I really do feel that is important for Will so he can give himself the best chance to justify the reasons we brought him to the club."
On Aiden McGeady
"There's the possibility to loan him out again next season.
"We're just seeing how he progresses at Charlton between now and the end of the season.
"Once Charlton's season is finished we'll sit down and we'll have a chat with Aiden."
On selling Bali Mumba
"We want to keep all our best young players.
"There's been an offer from a Premier League team – or from a Premier League team at the moment, whether they will be at the end of the season is another matter – and it's kind of a decision [taken] above me on that one.
"We'll see whether it gets finalised or not.
"But there are players who have progressed into the first team, we have Jack Diamond coming back from his loan spell and I am looking forward to seeing him in pre-season, we have Elliot Embleton who has had a long period out through injury, so there is a pathway for our young players.
"The problem is, as we all know, as contracts draw to a close and if a new contract hasn't been agreed, the lure of a move becomes very appealing to those players and their agents.
"Sometimes, if it is made clear to a club that a player is not going to re-sign, it's best to get the maximum money you can at that time for that player and invest it elsewhere."
"Of course [I understand]. Sunderland is such a huge club to be in the third tier of English football. It's not right.
"But that's where we are and we've got to get out of this division next year at what is the third attempt.
"Obviously that is very frustrating for everybody. The fans are not going to be delighted that we face another season in League One, but we're not either.
"We've got to, and we are, doing everything we can to get out of this division this next attempt."
On needing fans back before starting a new season
"I think the general consensus across the EFL is that we need fans back before we start.
"I'm hopeful that by the start of September, the proposed date, there will be a percentage of supporters allowed back in the ground.
"It's really important for the future of all clubs, and we've got to work towards that.
"I feel we're progressing in that direction, and it is absolutely crucial, it goes without saying."
On Jim Rodwell
"I speak with Jim regularly.
"It's been difficult for him to come in in the circumstances. He obviously can't come into the stadium and work from his office.
"We have met a couple of times and I speak to him all the time.
"I still speak to the chairman now and then as well, but it has mainly been dealing with Jim Rodwell.
"The only thing I can do once the season gets going is win football games. That's what will put smiles on the supporters' faces.
"There was a period in the second half of last season where the crowd really responded to the way we were playing and we've got to try and recreate that.
"I want us to play that high-pressing game. It took me a while to get the players playing in that way, but once we played with that drive and energy the supporters really got behind us. It made the stadium a great place to play in.
"If we can play like that next season I know the fans will get right behind us. This is their club, their stadium etc. It's my job to produce a brand of football which the Sunderland fans can relate to.
"Off the pitch, you'll find a lot of clubs have similar things going on behind the scenes, but as a manager you've just got to focus on the training from Monday to Friday to produce the best possible team you can each work for the games."
On getting back for pre-season
"I can't wait to get back for pre-season and I can tell you that all the lads are absolutely itching to get back.
"The lads have been really looking after themselves away from the club as much as they possibly can.
"But we really are ready now to get back in and get cracking again."
Why did it take so long for players to get your message and play to your style?
"I think if you look at my first home game in charge, we beat Tranmere 5-0 and the lads played exactly as I asked them.
"But then we went to Shrewsbury and got beat and then had a couple of cup games quite quickly after that and I think it just knocked everybody's confidence.
"During that period, especially the cup games, the team was chopping and changing, we had injuries in the forward line.
"It just took me a while to get the make-up of the team to be able to play in the way that I wanted them to play. If you're going to press high and play with energy, you need athleticism and you need legs right across the team.
"It also took me a while to sort the shape of the team which I felt suited the personnel available to us, and also getting the right balance in the side to enable us to play in that manner."
On systems and formations
"Any system can work in football. It's all about having the right system that fits right with the players you have.
"Early in my managing career I remember one experienced coach telling me, 'Phil, when you do your tactical/match work on a Thursday or Friday, it shouldn't be difficult. It shouldn't take long for the players to work out'
"He basically explained to me that if the right system is the one that comes naturally to the group of players you have available. So any system can work, it's about the personnel you have."
What type of players he's looking for this summer (Suggestion Sunderland need more physicality)
"I think that's important. You need physicality at any level of football.
"But I want more athleticism and energy in this team. Players who have the legs to be able to play how I want.
"I think we've got a core of players who fulfil that criteria.
"We know the way we want to play and the formation we want to play, so obviously we're looking for players who will suit that.
"I've said to the staff: Let's have a clear identity of what we're building towards so that the summer doesn't become muddled. There's enough going on with the way things are right now that could make it muddled.
"Therefore, it's my job to make it absolutely crystal clear this is how we want to play - okay, the system has to have some variation to it - but these are the players to fit into that and that's who we've got to aim to get.
"I think if we're calm, patient and all work together, we have an excellent chance to build that squad."