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Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One

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Trying to extract some positives (though negatives are easier to find) after last night’s defeat

Our pundits give two positives and two negatives each on the back of Sunderland’s loss last night - is there anything left to feel optimistic about after no wins in our last 7?

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Sean Brown says...

Well - we’re sat in the play-off spots currently, and this side really shouldn’t be.

The fact we are is frankly a miracle.

We started late in the season with a shit manager who nobody wanted under a shit owner with no plan. Then we had a transition of power, a change of manager and then ownership came in a bit too late to fully deal with a January window, followed by an outbreak of a deadly virus that put our lads out a while.

We struggled after that.

Then we went on a run we had no right to go on, and as a result of a lack of personnel in the right positions (the same positions as before) and an abundance of injuries to almost every defender we have, with the exception of McFadzean, we ground to a halt late in the season.

Cheer up and stop acting like this is some sort of conspiracy-laden shocking event that requires anything but a period of calm and a well-thought-out summer transfer window under our new owner and manager.

* and breathe *

Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Kelvin Beattie says...

The results of two of the teams just below us have allowed us to almost limp over the play-off line. Charlton and Portsmouth drawing last night is a bonus for us. harlton have remaining games to play against Hull and Lincoln, and Lincoln also need to play Peterborough - proverbial six-pointers as Hull and Peterborough vie for the League One title, and Charlton and Lincoln look to get into the play-offs. Oxford, Portsmouth and Blackpool have easier run-ins, along with ourselves, but one more win should get us into the play-offs.

Whilst it’s a struggle to pick out too many positives from last night's game, I thought we created some decent pressure in the last 15 minutes, as we upped the tempo and pressed the game. The obvious observation on this is, why wait so long? Blackpool were a decent team, but Burge was most certainly not overworked, and the defence generally performed much better tonight. It was a great strike from Kaikai, but I agree with Danny Collins - Gooch should have stood his ground and “taken one” for the team. Hume had some very threatening runs and linked quite well with McGeady.

On another night with a kinder rub of the green, we could have scored three or four!

And then on to the negatives... only taking three points from the last 21 available is a worrying statistic. If this was golf, we would be worrying that our team had the “yips”. Johnson and his backroom team have some work to do to restore some of the confidence and swagger that was displayed in effective spells during the winning run that preceded the last seven games.

I was with one of my granddaughters in the local playpark after school yesterday - the screaming from her and her pals at one point was extremely loud.

The scream from Ballard in the closing stages of the game as his fringe was ruffled by the backdraft from Winchester should be a source of embarrassment to him. He can definitely come and join the screaming crew at the play-park if he is going to repeat that level of dramatic decibel.

It may be harsh singling him out for something that lots of players generally are now doing, but for football’s sake this really does need to be called out! Apart from the view that this type of behaviour is simulation and should be punished by referees, I would ask all players displaying this behaviour: what kind of role model are you being when you engage in this drama and cheating?

I am still confident that we can make it into and through the play-offs. Time for calm cool heads and top critical analysis and response. Haway my bonny Lads, you can do this.

Sunderland v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One
OWWWWWWWWWWWW!
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

Let’s get the negatives out the way first... I think my lad has given up being a Sunderland fan - he is so fed up with our inability to win (or to not lose) when we deserve something from a game. We played okay in the second half tonight, and yes we only lost to a great goal and through another opposing keeper doing well, but our ineffectiveness in finishing was too blatant to ignore, and our central midfield was non-existent again.

And whilst Ross Stewart did okay - though I wish he could head a ball with power - putting him up front with Charlie Wyke was, in my view, the last thing we needed.

Yeah, he created a couple of half-chances, but he added nothing new to the attack when we needed something extra to go up a gear. Hopefully, this losing streak ends with the play-offs, but one win before them would be great, as I’m worried that the team’s self-belief must be considerably worse from where they were at a month ago.

On a more positive note, after a nothing first half we created quite a few chances late on, and by law of averages, they must start going in some time soon. The playoffs look secure, so as long as that goal-fest happens at least in the last two games of this soon-to-be-extended season, we may still blag this.

If we don’t do anything in the playoffs, we are still in a position to do a full-on reset from the ground up for 2021-22... and I really think we need it.

Hidden among the angst and frustration at another loss we should have at least drawn, I am still optimistic about this management team building something for the future. That said, I can’t see many of our current squad surviving the cull, as this recent run has been nothing short of embarrassing.

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