The manner of Sunderland’s defeat to Middlesbrough was pretty embarrassing for the most part but, as bad as things may seem, there are things that have to be considered.
Firstly, that wasn’t our strongest team out. Duncan Watmore, Lynden Gooch, John O’Shea, Donald Love and Paddy McNair were all meant to be squad players this season but we’ve got such a depleted squad that I think David Moyes had no choice but to play them.
To be fair to the players that played on Sunday, they started relatively well but once Middlesbrough went ahead through a fantastic strike we looked out of ideas and couldn’t get back into the game. It annoyed me how much space Stuani got to have a crack at goal but I was livid with his second. I’m not even going to talk about it - you can all see for yourselves how bad the defending was for it.
Fast forward to the fifty-fifth minute mark of the game and we actually start playing properly. I think we did just about deserve to score but once we got back in the match we should have peppered Brad Guzan’s goal, but we resorted to safely passing the ball around and rarely looked like doing anything with the possession we had. Like I’ve said plenty of times before, if you don’t actually find a way to penetrate your opponents, then having the possession makes little to no difference.
Gooch for me was a stand-out performer, although that doesn’t really say much about the rest of the players. He showed passion, energy and drive to create something but he shouldn’t have that much responsibility on him already. Despite the result I do appreciate the players did try in a general context. However bad I feel at the minute, it wasn’t quite as bad as Norwich at home was a year ago. Small victories and all that.
Hopefully those making decisions at the club should now realise that that side currently, and badly, needs additions to it if they somehow hadn't already. I won’t talk much about Short and co as now isn’t the time for it, but I’ll wait and see what we do in the next week of the transfer window. As hard as it seems, we must wait until time has ran out for the club to fix our problems before judging this transfer window fully.
I do think Moyes’ comments about expecting another relegation battle were intended as a direct message to Short that we badly need players.
I like how realistic Moyes is and he's always straight to the point, which is what the fans need in times of uncertainty. If we are to see any actual progression up the Premier League table, I highly doubt it’ll be this season because, as Moyes has said, it’s a long term project.
It going to be an interesting week, and how we stand come deadline day will likely tell us exactly how well this season is going to pan out for Sunderland one way or the other.