Aiden McGeady insists his comments were meant to motivate, not mock, his Sunderland teammates after a draw against Accrington Stanley last year.
Aiden McGeady, whose club future remains in doubt after being left out of the Sunderland squad for the League One season, has responded to claims from former teammate Lewis Morgan that the Black Cats squad was scared of McGeady.
Speaking on Si Ferry’s Open Goal podcast in August, Morgan revealed how “ruthless” McGeady reacted to the draw in the Stadium of Light changing room, telling his teammates that they would struggle to play at any higher level after the 2-2 result.
Former Republic of Ireland international McGeady appeared on the same podcast this week and the winger gave his take on what happened after the game.
“The thing is, right, your interviews are supposed to be funny and light-hearted,” McGeady started, as transcribed by the Sunderland Echo.
“I get that Morgy was trying to tell funny stories, but see the time and the place [was wrong], because obviously the situation I’m in at Sunderland.
“The story he told, I was getting loads of grief because he said I walked in the dressing room and said ‘yous aren’t good enough, yous can’t play at a higher level’.
“I’ve got a journalist ringing me right after that interview went out and he was like ‘Lewis Morgan’s said these comments, what have you got to say?’. I was like, ‘look mate, this is what happened’. I walked in the dressing room, we’d just drawn 2-2 against Accrington Stanley. No disrespect, but Sunderland should be beating Accrington Stanley.
“We had a big meeting. Jack Ross gave us an open forum to have a say. Loads and loads of people spoke up and I said ‘lads, I’m 33 now, chances are I won’t play at a higher level again, but I imagine all of you have aspirations to play at a higher level – or you should have. If you can’t handle the fans getting on you out there against Accrington on a Tuesday night, you won’t [play at a higher level]’.
“You’ve got to be able to bottle that up, block that out, and deal with that pressure. That was what I said, but Morgy made it sound like I went ‘Ha ha, you lot won’t play at a higher level’. That’s not what I said.
“If Lee Cattermole or Kevin Ball had said that, it would be amazing. What was I saying that was wrong there? Why wouldn’t I have high standards at a club like Sunderland?
“If you’re accepting a 2-2 draw against Accrington Stanley, Sunderland will be in League One for the foreseeable.”