Q: What impressed you most about Sunderland’s performance against Tranmere on Tuesday?
What was your favourite thing about tonight’s performance? #SAFC ⚽️— Roker Report (@RokerReport) October 22, 2019
Sean Brown says...
The lads played like they knew they’d win. The confidence, relentless attack, positive attitude, solid teamwork, and a clear plan all impressed. They could smell blood on this admittedly poor Tranmere side and they didn’t stop from start to finish. They went straight for the jugular - Watmore’s charging runs straight at their back line was more evidence of this and unlike previous games he seemed to have back up.
Players in the right place at the right time.
We showed pace we’ve been sorely lacking, a lot of good movement off the ball and a willingness to push them so far back into their own half the Tranmere players were constantly reminded they were playing a side vastly superior in ability. The lack of a killer instinct has been something we’ve all bemoaned in the past - the ruthlessness required to get out of this league (as noted by Parky post-match) is something we can’t just hope to have, it’s something we cannot succeed without. It seems obvious because aye... it is.
This win doesn’t make all our problems go away. We’re rightly cautious when we think sensibly about it all, but this was a great game. It was exactly what the fans needed to see, exactly what the players needed to show not only themselves, but their new gaffer; a man who applauded Will Grigg off the pitch after trying to make sure he got some of the service he’s apparently been asking for since he arrived, a man who gave Lee Burge a chance some didn’t think was deserved... and was rewarded with a clean sheet from the latter and the first league goal in six months from the former.
This was quite simply the perfect game for the new boss. He had our lads up for it, chomping at the bit and I hope beyond all hope that this is just the beginning of a beautiful relationship with a man not many of us wanted, but a man who showed these lads what they could do in a very short space of time. We take everything from this game as a positive into the next and I think I... I think I’m looking forward to Saturday.
Long may the progress continue, and long may our newfound ruthlessness reign. Time to get to work. Haway the lads, and haway the Parky.
James Nickels says...
Well first of all, a few statistics: this is the first time Sunderland have scored five goals at home since October 2009; the last time we won 5-0 was 12 years ago; it was the first game five goals have been scored by five different goalscorers since March 2005, and was the last win by five goals or more since September 1998 - a whopping 21 years.
However, the most impressive part of the match wasn’t just these five goals, but the manner of them. Far too often so far in League One we have relied upon individual quality and stunning goals to find our way through - as so often under Jack Ross the tactics were to either shoot on sight and hope, or just merely give it to Aiden McGeady.
The Irishman is arguably the most skilled player in the league, but we relied on giving it to him at every opportunity far too much under the Scot. Against Tranmere, almost all five resulted from carving the away side’s defence open through incisive passing, electric combination play in the channels and ultimately, top-quality wing play.
Our opponents may have put up almost zero defensive resilience, as their performance was typified by Luke O’Nien’s late goal - he was free, unmarked on the penalty spot from a dangerous free kick without an opposition defender within five yards of the enigmatic midfielder (defender?).
But, nevertheless, we didn’t just take our opportunities well but dismantled a side for the first time since dropping into the division, and utterly tore their gameplan apart.
It may be too soon to wax lyrical about Phil Parkinson but it is certainly unarguable that the performance, game management and most importantly, result, simply would not have happened under Jack Ross.
Tom Albrighton says...
Whilst Tranmere offered very little on Tuesday night, Phil Parkinson deserves some credit. As a vocal sceptic of Parkinson it is at this point I hold my hands up and I say I was impressed.
Tuesday saw a series of changes to the side on Saturday and again, Parkinson got it right. The ideas used in Tuesday weren’t that different from the core ideas Jack Ross had, but they were much more purposeful and thorough. Take for instance the playing of long balls; these were varied, some long, some over the top, some to compete. They weren’t used as merely a clearing option, but for a platform. Their variation kept defenders guessing and more so kept them honest. The directness and angles of these long balls created dilemmas for their entire back line, they weren’t merely floated up for the striker to compete. This in turn allowed Watmore, Grigg, Maguire and Gooch more chances to win the ball or the subsequent second ball, it allowed players with pace and guile to have as much chance as players with height and strength to compete.
Nothing was done for the sake of it either - rarely did a pass go backwards and when it did it was to open the pitch up. The role of Max Power was fulfilled properly this time by virtue of using possession as a tool to build pressure and keep momentum when we’re so used to seeing it used to nullify a side and take the sting out of a game.
Finally what impressed me was our chance creation. Under Ross there was a premium on creating chances and good chances at that - the Ross mantra was to create the perfect scoring opportunity. The fault was that every player sees that differently.
On tuesday what we saw was a system whereby we created chances with two or three players in mind - the more focused approach to chance creation meant that, in turn, Parkinson’s side were more focused themselves and created a higher volume of chances -very much a percentage play.
What this also created was a focus for the opposition. With three players strengths being catered for, Tranmere’s defenders really struggled to adapt accordingly and quickly enough. if Plan A was get it to Grigg, plan B became get it to Watmore, this in turn created confusion and disarray in Tranmere’s disorganised defence.
Overall I was impressed but, thanks to Tranmeres poor showing, I’m not as blown away as I perhaps should be. It was a good performance and is hopefully a sign of what’s to come.
I’m now cautiously optimistic.