What The (Caretaker) Gaffer Said:
In terms of the game itself I though we approached it very well.
We were aware how well Peterborough have been doing and we wish them all the best for the future; good luck to them, I thought they were very effective in what they did tonight.
From our point of view, I thought we played some good football.
People in general moved the ball nicely and the chances we created were there for everybody to see, the only thing from my point of view is that you want to see them hit the back of the net.
Finally one did, and then another – but even then Peterborough still kept coming at us so we still had to make sure we remained professional.
It was a really enjoyable game – I enjoyed it and I think the lads did as well.
We knew we needed to create an atmosphere tonight, we needed to give the fans something to get behind and I felt that the players did that.
One or two individuals really pushed the team on and there were some great performances.
[Valentin] Roberge popped up with a fantastic header, it was an awesome ball in and a great header – it was nice to see everyone enjoying it as much as they did.
The ball that Lee [Cattermole] put in for the goal was absolutely fantastic; he got in some great pockets and almost went close to scoring himself.
A very decent summary of the match from Bally, respectful of the opposition, focusing on the positives and professionalism of the display. He was correct to highlight the quality of Cattermole's delivery for the first goal and his performance in general; it was a fine return to the starting XI for the Teessider.
It did seem that, as he says, the lads enjoyed it tonight. There was a definite sense that a weight had been lifted off their shoulders and they expressed themselves well. It was encouraging to see the chances created, tempered only by an inability to work the goalkeeper at times. Still, there was plenty to be encouraged by.
Contrast To MK Dons Victory
In the previous round of the League Cup Sunderland scraped through in dramatic fashion against MK Dons by making a late, great comeback. The 70 odd minutes that preceded the fight back were however, atrocious. Against Peterborough Utd this time out, Kevin Ball sent out his side to dominate and eliminate another League 1 side in rather less thrilling fashion. It was exactly the way the last round should have panned out with Sunderland in charge from the word go, resulting in a comfortable victory. The fact that there are far less talking points than there have been in recent weeks is testament to the professional job done by the caretaker manager and the players he sent out.
A Change Of Shape
A return to the 4-2-3-1 used so often under Martin O'Neill's stewardship and briefly by Paolo Di Canio while Stephane Sessegnon was at the club paid dividends for Sunderland against the Posh. Kevin Ball retained the inverted winger system used by Paolo Di Canio but opted to bring Sebastian Larsson on the left and move Emanuele Giaccherini into the middle, playing just off Jozy Altidore. Sunderland and Giaccherini in particular looked much more comfortable, with the Italian given the liberty to roam and cause problems across the attacking third. He capped off a fine individual performance with a well deserved goal.
The team pressed forward well as a unit and the support for Altidore was good throughout the game as he battled with defenders manfully. The full backs continued to press forward and overlap, but once again the delivery from Colback and on this occasion Gardner was often lacking. With Celustka hopefully rested rather than carrying a knock, it can only be hoped he will be back sooner rather than later, as his ability to put in a quality delivery was missed.
Ki & Cattermole
The alteration in system also brought about a change in personnel, with Lee Cattermole brought in for his first start of the season alongside Ki. The partnership showed early signs of promise, with Cattermole his usual combative, lively self. He spent the evening in the thick of things, spraying the ball around with mixed results, setting up the first goal in the process; who said he doesn't contribute assists? Ki meanwhile is growing into the role of chief creator. Obviously the level of opposition has to be taken into account, but the Korean created and made use of space wonderfully at times and picked out some fantastic passes.