I’ve got a couple of Sheffield United-supporting mates who were also at the match yesterday at Bramall Lane, and these were their responses to what they witnessed.
Going off of what I saw, I can’t say that I can argue too much with their analysis.
Yeah mate sorry had no signal , I think you need to prepare for league one pal , no penetration going forward n slow at back— dan chapman (@danchap1022) December 26, 2017
Safe trip home. Great support for your team. Unfortunately they didn't deserve it. Passionless and gutless. Haven't seen a worse team this season.— Unitedite (@unitedite) December 26, 2017
While the harrying, containment and frustration worked well up to a point - until around the 40th minute - there were countless, aimless and wayward passes when going up field. The midfield and offensive players did nothing to take the pressure off the defence, who did well containing Sheffield’s lively, though not too imaginative attack.
However, whenever we broke up their attack, the ball was given right back to the team wearing red and white today. Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman saw plenty of the ball, but nothing came of it. Unforced errors were the story of the afternoon as Sunderland wished Sheffield United a very happy Christmas.
According to the BBC Sport they had six corners to our none, and four shots on our goal compared to our none. Though the possession stats read 53-47 in favour of the home side, it felt a lot more during the game.
In typical Coleman style, with his post match comments to Nick Barnes of BBC Newcastle, he didn’t hide; he said the performance was unacceptable and nothing to be proud of. He called on his players to show more fight and be “better, stronger, meaner and hungrier” if they are to get out of trouble.
It is okay winning one and then everyone gets a bit excited and then we reveal ourselves.
We are here for a reason, unless we get better, stronger, meaner and hungrier then we won’t ever get away from where we are.
Coleman’s seems to suggest that the attitude of the players when they went a goal down was what disappointed him. I thought that corner had been turned, as exampled with last week’s draw at home to Birmingham. But, clearly the mental strength has to be worked on further.
The tactic of having Robbin Ruiter punt the ball up to the left wing every time he was in possession of it was baffling, as was our right side’s complete inability to keep hold of possession against Sheffield United’s comparatively up-tempo style.
Chris Coleman has been in the job for a month now. We have seen an upturn in performance, without a doubt, but there is still much work to do. The January transfer window will be interesting, but we have been warned not to expect too much from that.
While I don’t share the pessimism of my Sheffield-supporting friends, I trust Chris Coleman to turn this around, but today illustrated exactly how much work is required to sort out the mess which is currently Sunderland AFC.