Joseph Tulip says...
I like to see us do well in all competitions, and the FA Cup is historically a special one for Sunderland. While it’s disappointing to go out at the first hurdle, we have enough on our plate in terms of fixture congestion. We have a League Cup quarter-final against Arsenal to look forward to, and we can’t expect to excel in every competition - especially with the league being our priority.
It’s clear that we’re in a poor run of form and that the players are lacking confidence, Lee Johnson has said that himself. All teams have poor runs and that is something we have to accept.
It’s a long season and things can change very quickly in football. I maintain 100 percent confidence in Johnson and his coaching team, as well as our talented squad of players to turn this around.
What concerns me most is the unnecessary pressure being put on Johnson by the media. In recent press conferences, Johnson has faced questions about his future and what message he would give to fans who may be “getting on his back”, asked one journalist pre-Mansfield.
Most fans are realistic, they understand what Johnson and his colleagues at the club are trying to achieve alongside Kristjaan Speakman and KLD. This is a long-term project and a few poor performances and results shouldn’t be allowed to disrupt or even threaten this.
This modern approach by the media to directly ask a manager about his future after run of three, four or five bad games is mischievous, unhealthy, and unwanted intrusion. It can breed unrest among supporters.
My message would be to take no notice, listen to Johnson, understand they have a plan and let him, his coaches and the players get on with the job at hand.
Keep the faith, please. Now more than ever!
Gary Engel says…
We have been poor for a few weeks now. I was down at Crewe where many were raving about how impressive Sunderland were. Personally, I wasn’t exactly blown away by that match. Crewe never looked a danger and that is probably the big difference between them and the sides we have played since.
Last season we played Charlton on a high, lost that match at the Stadium and quickly lost our season’s momentum. Though it wasn’t our first defeat in our current run this time around, Charlton is proving to be our Achilles heel at this level. It’s another brick wall hit before another painful defeat to a Nigel Clough side.
Our form is not making good reading but it’s the way some of our defeats have come, at Portsmouth who have hardly mustered a performance all season. A defeat away at Sheffield Wednesday who are the lowest scorers at home until our visit...
The list is growing, frankly we’ve been found out and Lee Johnson doesn’t appear to have another tactic other than playing the same formation that has brought our season to the point of free fall. That is what happens when you don’t address one of the fundamental requirements of this division - physically. We may be the best footballing team in the division but if we can’t mix it up then we will be playing League One football forever more.
It falls on us to send a SOS to Lee Johnson, Save Our Season in the next five matches or its all over.
Kelvin Beattie says...
It was a tough watch at the SoL on Saturday.
Johnson selected a strong squad that, on paper, at least looked like it had a bit of football in it. Having rested Stewart, I was looking forward to seeing Broadhead get a run up front.
Unfortunately, a very strong wind - which at times was swirling around the stadium - was a major factor over the 90 minutes.
We did not take advantage of the wind in the first half, and gave a very silly goal away as we were caught in possession passing the ball out. Mansfield were game battlers and probably used the elements far better than we did.
At the finish we got what we deserved on a bad day for us.
This run of defeats is of course concerning, but I remain confident that this can be turned around, and that better times are ahead.
This tough run of defeats has been hard to stomach, but Bradford in the Pizza Trophy on Tuesday gives us a chance to get back to winning ways.
Malc Dugdale says...
On balance, I’m genuinely pleased we are out of the FA Cup. I just wish we got something more useful out of the game, which we didn’t, other than confirmation that without Stewart, we would be an even less convincing side.
Like the Carabao - which, let's be honest, we aren’t going to win - FA cup progression simply means more games we cannot service properly, and even SAFC, with one of the largest squads in the third tier, are starting to look tired and leggy.
Lots of fans use the “pleased we are out, let’s focus on the league” line when internally they wish we had won really, but for me, this game has gone the right way, while clearly showing how key big Ross is. It has also likely struck off a couple of thoughts from the list that Johnson has regarding how we may get back to playing the way we have previously.
Tuesday is another experimental game with no relevance other than the further risk of jnjury, so let’s hope there are no more bumps or bruises, and we get a tad more positivity from that one - and, of course, that we can be ready in thought and indeed to build up some points again when Ipswich visit the SOL in a couple of weeks.