Mark Wood says...
Winning games will always help the mood of the fanbase, and not just when any discontent is related to matters on the pitch. I say ‘help’ and not ‘cure’, because there will still be a section of fans out there who are still not convinced by Lee Johnson, but winning games calms the nerves of the loudest critics.
In my mind, there is little doubt that when we lose a game those critics will be back, but this is football, and fans, and not unique to Sunderland.
Our upturn in no small part has been to Winchester being moved to midfield, something that for once came about because of bad luck working out in our favour when Luke O’Nien was injured.
O’Nien is for me more of a box-to-box midfielder and with Dan Neil as more of a creator alongside him, opposition teams had figured they could run straight through us in the middle of the park. Our unbeaten run started when the team figured that there would be days where we had to grind out results, and with Winchester more of a holding player than O’Nien we have offered more of a challenge when without the ball in midfield.
Because of all our injuries to our full backs and now stand-in full back, we are not far from the patched-up defence we were sending out at the end of last season and I dread the moment an opposition side runs riot exploiting it, so I am not that confident about an extended unbeaten run.
All said, we have a quality attack with more options than last season and I would settle for us keeping ourselves in the position we are, or higher going into January.
Kevin Campbell says...
It’s a long old season. I think we’ll find ourselves in an automatic spot when the campaign comes to an end. We’ve seen enough for me to be confident of that. I also know we’ll probably see another handful of games that don’t go to plan.
Maybe not to the extent we did earlier in the year but maybe a loss and 4 or 5 draws mixed in over a 8 game spell or so. Unfortunately, I think something like that will have some fans back banging the negative, “everything is awful”, “Johnson and KLD aren’t for us” drum.
Most of that camp haven’t changed their tune recently, just gone quiet.
Joseph Tulip says...
Without wanting to overly repeat myself, I was always convinced our bad run was simply a bad run and nothing more significant. I was always confident that Lee Johnson would get his side backtrack and now, despite being low on numbers due to injuries, we are playing some exciting, attacking football and are back to winning ways.
There will be some who will look at the “streaky” tag attached to Johnson and will suggest that another dip in form is around the corner. We can’t be sure, but we seem to have bounced back strongly and in the last three games, and seem to be an even better outfit than we were at the start of the season.
The poor pitch at the SoL is an issue, alongside the injuries, but at Saturday’s match I felt that the crowd were very much behind Johnson and his team, with the gaffer’s booking only fueling the siege mentality.
It’s a long season, there could be another blip ahead, but with players to come back and a transfer window to open soon, we have every opportunity to kick on now and strengthen our position at the top end of the table with the top two places well within our grasp.
Lars Knutsen says...
I tend to be an optimistic person by nature so my take on this is that we have had our “bad patch” for the season and the last 6 in the league have been positive because our young stars have really become assertive on the field, showing grit, application and togetherness.
That is what our fanbase wants, a visible effort from those who are fortunate enough to wear the Sunderland badge. As long as they keep sweating blood for the team that will translate to the most critical element of fans and we should see less outbursts of “LJ out”, etc.
In many ways what could have been seen as an injury crisis has been positive because of the quality and motivation of our less experienced players.