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Mitchell warning for Sharks
ESPN Staff
December 6, 2012
Lions coach John Mitchell talks to the media, Lions press conference, Johannesburg Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa, May 31, 2012
Sale boss John Mitchell is determined to improve his side's fortunes © Getty Images
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Sale Sharks' new boss John Mitchell has fired a warning shot to his side's under achieving players saying that there will potentially be some "casualties" as he aims to keep the team in the top-flight.

The former All Blacks head coach has been drafted in by the Premiership strugglers in order to help turn Sale's fortunes around after a disappointing start to their campaign.

Sale are currently bottom of the Premiership with just six points and Mitchell says that he is fully focused on improving the Salford-based side's form, which has seen them lose nine of their last 10 games to-date, but that there may be a few changes in the line-up if players fail to meet his standards.

"If we pussyfoot around we might get the same old, so there's got to be change," Mitchell told the Manchester Evening News. "Clearly, the Premiership is the focus and because the performances of the past two weeks haven't been to the standard we wanted to see, we will be looking to change attitude and requiring a shift in performance.

"So therefore there's some casualties in terms of the mix we're looking at going forward with. We've been after delivery and some individuals haven't stepped up and delivered.

"It's a team game and we want the team to play as a team so it's up to us to find a mix that will play as a team and perform. We're going into this next two weeks based on looking at what will be our team going forward and making sure we manage some of the players in that consideration.

"Ultimately, the past has not been to the standard that is required... you just have to look at where the team is sitting in the Premiership to see that.

"We're a bit thin at the moment in terms of selection options but I've been busy looking at what we're doing, how we're doing it and ways to improve the what now and identifying what will be the right mix going forward. We're also dealing with some individuals attitudinally at the moment because the performances haven't been to the level required. I just think we're far too loose as an environment professionally and we need to tighten up in order to become collective.

"If you are loose off field in terms of your standards and measures then that transfers to your team performance. Punctuality is vital and if there's an appointment at a physio or for rehab it's important to be on time. There's got to be greater focus on becoming a team rather than relying on individuals."

Mitchell also insisted that there will be no special treatment for the club's high-profile players such as fly-half Danny Cipriani. "In terms of Danny, I'll treat him and every individual with the same respect and courtesy," he said. "They have all got different strengths and weaknesses and he's like anyone - there will no special treatment for anyone as we're all working towards the same goal."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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