Team Selection: We Asked For Change, We Got Change
Sunderland's latest injury blow - another Jack Rodwell issue - meant that David Moyes' resources were further stretched for a game that the manager could do without.
He also opted to rest Jermain Defoe - there didn't seem to be much merit in starting our star player in a game that in the grand scheme of things means very little to this team and manager.
George Honeyman was given his first start and did fairly well, particularly in the opening forty-five minutes.
Because of our lack of options elsewhere, Moyes utilised all three of his right backs in a variety of positions. Javier Manquillo played right wing back, Donald Love returned to the centre of midfield and Billy Jones played at centre half - talk about a patchwork team.
Sadly, it just didn't work. Whilst we lacked quality, we lacked basic desire even more. I don't think it mattered what team the manager picked last night, those players just looked like they would rather have been anywhere but on that football pitch.
From my perspective, I felt that we had too many players out of position and the constant changing of formation is proving to be detrimental. Whether or not you think players like Ethan Robson are ready or not, playing him last night really wouldn't have done him much harm and at least having an actual central midfielder would have addressed some balance issues.
Gav's rating: 3/10 - We were beaten before a ball was kicked.
Tactics: What Are Tactics?! (Part Two)
Sunderland lined up in a 5-3-2 with a number of players playing out of position.
We were unbalanced and quite what our gameplan was didn't seem apparent. Our tactic of working the ball back to Vito Mannone who would then boot the ball nowhere near a Sunderland player over and over again grew tiresome quickly and you could see on the faces of the players that they were frustrated by our lack of quality on the ball almost from the off.
Sunderland's most comfortable player on the ball was George Honeyman, but with no clear tactical directive it was hard for him to actively dictate Sunderland's play.
It looked like a team devoid of any confidence, ideas or leadership - having seen the games come thick and fast over this last month it's abundantly clear that we are struggling to deal with the amount of changes which, in turn, is affecting our ability to prepare correctly and put in the right kind of work on the training ground.
Gav's rating: 0/10 - An absolute mess. Nobody knows their job in the side anymore.
Substitutions: Too Late & Pointless
Jermain Defoe came on for Donald Love in the 63rd minute. His first touch of the ball wasn't until the 83rd minute, when we had to kick the game back off following Burnley's second goal.
Gav's rating: 0/10 - Waste of time.
David Moyes claimed he was 'disappointed' to be out of the cup in the wake of last night's game.
Speaking in his full-time email, the manager said:
I’m disappointed we’re out of the cup. We’ve gone again with a threadbare team and tried to win, but we’ve found it difficult against Burnley in the previous two games and again tonight.
There are positives to take. I thought George Honeyman played well. We played with three at the back and it worked for long spells.
George trains with the first team every day and he did well. He’s probably a player who is ready and at an age where he can handle it.
We gave away a poor goal to give them their lead and we were looking for an equaliser but we conceded just as poorly for their second.
I wanted to do well in the cup, we had a home draw and we were looking forward to it, unfortunately we didn’t perform well enough to progress.
I'm glad that he took the time to credit George Honeyman, though whether those words are empty I have no idea. Honeyman may well have impressed on his first full start for the club but the youngster has been hawked around a whole host of Championship and League One clubs this month in a bid to move him on - I'm not convinced that he'll still be here when the January transfer window closes.
Moyes seems to talk alot about how we keep conceding poor goals but nothing seems to be done about it, week on week. That said, I don't envy his task in trying to fix this mess.
Gav's Rating: N/A - Not good enough, really.