Michael Beale has spoken publicly for the first time since being sacked by Sunderland.

The former Rangers boss was relieved of his duties by the English Championship side after just 12 games due to a poor run of results.

Beale lost 50 per cent of matches in charge of the Black Cats, including a FA Cup defeat to rivals Newcastle United.

His last game in the dugout came against Tony Mowbray's Birmingham City, his predecessor at Sunderland, in a 2-1 loss.

And now he has thanked the players, club and supporters.

In a statement, he said: "I am disappointed to have left Sunderland after a short time at the club. I would like to say a big thank you to the players who were excellent to work with.

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"The squad has a lot of potential and I will follow their progress with great interest in the coming weeks and months.

"I would also like to extend my thanks to all the staff, both at the training ground and the Stadium of Light, for the quality of work, as well as their friendship.

"The communication with Kyril, Kristjaan and the board was always open and honest, and I wold like to place on record my sincerest thanks for their support during a tough period personally.

"To the fans - I would like to thank you for the support shown to me and my family during the recent game against Plymouth Argyle.

"In this gesture, you showed huge empathy and warmth and that is something I will never forget.

I wish everyone associated with Sunderland AFC all the very best for the future."