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ITHICS Column 20/21

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Cool heads must prevail - it’s all about the remaining games now, and not the last one

Sunderland made a bunch of mistakes and missed a boatload of chances, but ultimately it’s important we don’t dwell on the Charlton defeat too much. We play Wigan next, and that’s all that matters.

Danny Roberts

Back on 9th February we lost 2-1 at Shrewsbury and were outside the play-off places. 15 games later and we’re comfortably third, pretty much guaranteed a play-off place and still in with a chance of automatic promotion. It’s been an amazing transformation.

The defeat to Charlton was disappointing but, realistically, we were always likely to lose another game before the end of the season.

Let’s hope that’s it now and we can go unbeaten to the end.

At half-time we could and perhaps should have been winning 3-1 or 4-2. Their keeper made some outstanding saves and Wyke missed some decent chances. However, the truth is that we were undone by some individual errors at the back, pedestrian play at times and a team selection which, in hindsight, was wrong.

Sunderland v Charlton Athletic - Sky Bet League One Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Charlton, like most teams, came to play a high press in the hope of stifling our attacking play and stealing a goal. They executed their game plan very well, maintaining high energy for 70 minutes or so and always looked dangerous on the attack.

Our set pieces were mostly poor and we didn’t move the ball quickly enough. We also gave away too much possession in midfield. It was a disjointed performance, a bad day at the office.

We looked better with Jones and Hume on the pitch and I was surprised that neither of them started. I also thought that the deficiencies in our patched up defence were exposed today, and Luke O’Nien, for once, didn’t play a blinder.

However, it’s all about the remaining games now, not the last one.

We have to focus on our games, and not what Hull and Peterborough do. Neither of those sides are Brazil 1970 – they will have their wobbles, especially as the pressure mounts.

Tuesday we need to start high-tempo and score early and, preferably, often. We’re still in this and if we don’t make automatic promotion... how about Charlton in the play-offs?!

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