Bold prediction klaxon! Sunderland will hammer a few teams and win this league.
“But Dad, you were saying a few minutes ago that they were rubbish”. The trouble with taking a seven-year old to the match is that they show you up for talking crap. How can I have been slagging off a team who were now 3-0 up and coasting to victory?
The fact is, I’m a bit puzzled by the win over Rochdale. The scoreline was emphatic but the performance struck me as disjointed. Every time we attacked with intent we looked like we’d score - so how come we often struggled to get going?
The first half hour really was hard work to watch, so how come we then came alive? Rochdale offered very little, so how did they score such an easy goal?
At 3-0 I wanted us to get six or seven. Why not? It’s about time we crushed a few teams and it would have been a fantastic signal to the rest of the division that Sunderland are not going to hang around in League One for long.
So what stopped that from happening?
Well, I don’t feel we’ve got the right pairing in the centre of the park.
Cattermole improved as the game went on - although I feel he’s still a long way off his best - but he’s the man to break up play not to get things started. And McGeouch? He had some nice touches, but I wasn’t convinced; subsequently, I feel he’s the man to make way for the return of Max Power.
To be fair to Jack Ross, he needs a lot more time to shape this squad and get the best out of players. It was interesting hearing how he had reviewed where to play Gooch and settled on the wing back spot. Gooch was outstanding and he’s one of the players who I think is way above this league.
Throw in Maja, plus the industry of Honeyman and Maguire, the quality from Baldwin, McLaughlin and Flanagan, and the promise shown by Hume and that’s some squad we’ve got for this league.
I love a historical comparison - that’s what happens when you tick past 40 I suppose - and I have been mentally comparing the current Sunderland squad with the one which went up in 1988.
We haven’t yet got a Gates-Gabbiadini partnership, but in other respects this is a far better squad. We will click over the next few weeks and hammer a few teams. One of the best aspects of the game on Saturday was seeing Sinclair come on and bust a gut to score. The game was won but he did absolutely everything he could to get a fifth. That’s the sort of effort and commitment we haven’t seen at Sunderland for years.
It’s that mentality which will help us to win this league - and I think we will.