Yesterday’s result and performance just proved to me that Simon Grayson just isn’t the right person for the Sunderland manager’s job.
Defensively we are appalling and the rate at which we concede is the most alarming thing about all of this mess. Grayson is supposedly a sound defensive coach, yet it doesn’t seem to matter what he does because they’re incapable of leaking pathetic goals.
They had that win right in the palm of their hands and their mental fragility led to them capitulating exactly as most of us watching expected. It’s damning.
I’ve no doubt he’s a nice person and that he’s genuinely trying his best, but it’s not good enough. The players take their share of the blame, of course, but at the end of the day we’re seeing a rapid deterioration that Grayson doesn’t seem able to stem.
I know people will ask “well, who do we replace him with?” - at this stage, literally anyone that can coach these defenders into believing in themselves will do.
Cattermole hopeless... again
I don’t like to keep poking at Lee Cattermole in these pieces every week but yesterday he was utterly hopeless again. He was suspect for the first goal, and then from there on he just didn’t get involved at all.
I wonder if you asked Grayson off the record what he’d actually say about it all. There’s just something not right with Cattermole, and I can put my finger on what it is. Is he scared of getting injured again? Is he playing through an injury? Who knows. Whatever the problem is, he looks spent.
Granted, our other options in the centre are, at this stage, some untested youngsters and Darron Gibson, but I do wonder if he’ll eventually drop him in favour of Paddy McNair once he’s back fully fit.
Watmore coming up with the goods
Duncan Watmore is a dangerous player, perhaps the only one in our squad capable of just running at pace and carrying the ball, forcing opportunities and openings. If ever you needed evidence for why he’s such an asset to our side, just remind yourself by watching the footage of the run he made to win our penalty yesterday - he carried the ball from midway inside our own half before he was eventually fouled. It was just brilliant.
I don’t think he’ll score a great deal of goals this season, but his movement and energy will definitely help other players to get into decent positions around the box and in behind opposition defences. If he stays fit, we have a chance of staying up.
Glad to have Grabban
Just to round off on a positive - isn’t it great to have Lewis Grabban back and scoring?
The run he made to score his first was simple, yet I couldn’t help but think how nice it was to have an actual proper centre forward leading the line for a change.
I think when he’s 100% we’ll have a real player on our hands - and lets be honest, with him fit and firing it means we don’t have to watch anywhere near as much of James Vaughan.