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Quick Kicks: Sunderland Lacking Spark

With the dust settled, Stephen Goldsmith picks the bones out of that Burnley draw.

Chris Brunskill

What the Gaffer said

I don't think it was the best game that you will see in the Barclays Premier League.

It was tight, there were periods in the first half that I thought we started to play the way I want, using the space for our advantage but it was only glimpses and for a few moments.

We came back a little bit later so it was in and out. You need to be on it all the time, trying to do the right things.

I would say it was an okay performance but no more than that.

I think that the final 10 minutes showed that we wanted to win the game, both teams needed to win and it was close, but the longer the game went on it was a typical 0-­0 or 1-­0, maximum.

I did not think there would be more than one goal and we were trying to make sure it was us who got it, it wasn't to be but we got our first clean sheet in the Barclays Premier League.

We need to keep trying to defend better and improve in the final third to see if we can score a few more goals.

Like I said I am okay and I am not disappointed. I thought we had a great opportunity to show how much we have improved; we didn't do it but at the same time we battled and it wasn't to be.

We need to move on and make sure that we are a bit better in certain aspects of the game.

Well we aren't getting beat every week!

Ok, I think West Brom, Leicester and Palace winning yesterday has made this statement seem like a bit of a straw clutcher! The fact we haven't won a league game is highlighted somewhat more because of those results. This game was always a funny one in that a win or defeat would have almost polarised the perception of how good our start to the season has been. What does a draw leave us thinking? Well I think if last season's side could stay up then this one certainly can. But we need a win. Lord, do we need a win.

This lack of creative spark - who's gonna bring it?

We're playing "ok" but we're not creating enough going forward. Gus knows it, the players know it, the press know it and the fans know it. It was always going to become apparent at some point whether the little run at the end of last season was a sticking plaster or the real Sunderland. We all hoped the latter, I still think it might be to a degree, but there's a distinct lack of purposefulness going forward; a real shortage of intent. Someone needs to bring it.

Every time Adam Johnson runs at defenders inside the box they look like they're beside themselves with fear. We aren't seeing enough of it, not just from him but from everybody. There was a spell either side of half time when Burnley looked nervy and almost resigned to their fate as we started to run with the ball and you have to capitalise on such situations. A couple of our attacking players need to take a grip of the problem, and hastily so.

Great time for a cup game

We all know what the League Cup did for Sunderland last season. It not only offered some respite from our shocking league form, it gave the players something to focus on. I'd say it was pivotal in keeping the season alive and with it ensuring Premier League football was here for at least another season.

I think this is a great time to get back onto the pitch and try and grab a win. A win wouldn't bring any points with it, of course, but it might just spark some momentum going into the game against Swansea. Had we won one or two this season then Saturday's game would look appealing. As it is, the Welsh side seem a bit of a daunting challenge at present and a win going into it could be crucial for the psychology of the players.

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