clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Quick Kicks: Kone and Januzaj's Jekyll & Hyde impressions; Last week may as well not have happened!

This week's Quick Kicks takes a look at the main talking points coming out of yesterday's shambolic defeat at home to Southampton. Just where do we go from here?

Sunderland v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Inability To Capitalise Is What Will Cost Us

When Hull and Palace both lose, and you have a home fixture against a team that have lost six of their last seven games, you simply must capitalise upon it - particularly when the chance to move off the bottom of the league and out of the relegation zone is on offer.

If you can't be motivated by the prospect of that then, in my eyes, you don't deserve to stay in this league.

Southampton are evidently a far better team than we are, but we made it easy for them and it's worrying how often the players just give up as soon as they go behind by a goal or two in a game.

They lack backbone and the will-to-win more often than not and we just have to hope that the teams around us continue to be as bad as we are.

Last Week May As Well Not Have Happened!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAND CRASH! BANG! Back down to Earth we come.

All of us were on top of the world this time last week - but now I feel like I'm at my lowest point as a fan so far this season.

Despite setting up in exactly the same way, we looked a shell of the side that took to the field at Selhurst Park last week - and I'm not quite sure that it was the loss of Jack Rodwell in the starting eleven that was the difference maker.

The only thing I've really learned in these past eight days is that Crystal Palace are as bad as we are and will most definitely be down there with us right up until the season finishes. Any team that has less bottle than our lot ought to be ashamed of themselves.

The Difference

In some ways, you kind of have to ignore the fact Southampton went in to this game in such poor form. Their brand-spanking new £17m Italian international striker showed exactly why the Saints have paid so much money to bring him to England, whilst in midfield Tadic and Redmond tore us to pieces. Their full backs, particularly Ryan Bertrand on the left, had an absolute field day and won't have had an easier afternoon all season. And on the bench they had Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez - two players that would walk in to our side on any given day.

Their quality cannot be argued because Southampton are a club that consistently finish in the top half of this league. That doesn't excuse our lack of fight or bottle, though. We are capable of upping our game when it suits - you only have to take a look at last week's result as an example.

If you can't match their quality, you have to at least better their work-rate and desire.

Kone and Januzaj's Jekyll & Hyde Performance

I was full of praise for Lamine Kone and Adnan Januzaj last week so it's perhaps only fair that I single them out for criticism this week.

Lamine Kone is an extremely mobile and physically-competitive defender, yet yesterday he was anything but. Gabbiadini turned him with ease for his second and gave the big Ivorian an absolutely torrid time all afternoon. Once Shane Long came on with fresh legs and his abundance of pace, Kone's afternoon went from bad to worse.

He wasn't the only defender who had an off-day, but Lamine is our strongest defender and we can't afford for him to let his energy and performance levels drop. Maybe he's not fully fit after his trip to the African Cup of Nations - who knows. Lets hope that the break we now have between games does him some good.

Much like with Kone, we saw Adnan Januzaj at his absolute best last weekend on our jaunt to London. Yesterday, however, he was the complete opposite - the more the game dragged on, the more visibly frustrated he became. He wasn't releasing the ball quick enough, he fell to the floor continuously whenever a Southampton player came within five feet of him and offered us very little at both ends of the pitch.

Both men are match winners, and can be the difference between us staying up and going down if they can pull their fingers out of their arses and motivate themselves to have more than just one good game in three. The sooner that they realise this, the better.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report