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Sunderland v AS Roma - Pre-Season Friendly

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Roker Roundtable: Were you happy with what you saw when Sunderland faced ‘I Giallorossi’?

Now that the dust has settled, our panel of writers give their thoughts on Sunderland’s performance against Roma - were you happy with what you saw?

Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Jack Gingell says...

It was fun to see us playing against a team of actual repute again, and a good test for the lads.

It’s another set of minutes in the tank and was nice seeing the likes of Clarke, Matete and slightly surprisingly Batth, really step up and show some quality against good players.

I think the lineup - particularly the lack of Stewart - showed we are still a bit short in some positions but overall I’m impressed how we coped with a top European side, and in truth, we should have been leading 1-0 if Dajaku got his act together and rolled in Clarke.

We’re playing with a tenacity that I haven’t seen since Roy Keane was in charge. We approached the game in a competitive fashion (ruffling some Roma feathers) and that attitude will put us in good stead for the coming campaign.

Sunderland v AS Roma - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says...

It was a good pre-season run-out that was more competitive than we’re used to, which made for a not entirely boring game.

It was nice to see Sunderland hold their own against an objectively superior side for as long as we did, and what was most pleasing was how effortless it seemed at times.

What was most pleasing was how keen we were to keep the ball on the floor, looking for neat link-ups and passing lanes - indicating a potential shift to the football we were told Alex Neil likes to play.

Good performances from Matete and Clarke also whetted the appetite of many and potentially eased some concerns around the former's role in the side going forward.

In amongst the performance were some valuable lessons too, ones which if learned from properly will benefit us for the coming season, as well as potentially spurring KLD and Speakman to become slightly more active in the transfer window to alleviate some clear issues going forward.

Sunderland v AS Roma: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Jon Guy says...

I was quite impressed with the first half - we looked good in parts and we played on the front foot.

Alex Neil is developing a system, and while it looks solid, the lack of a decent striker really showed.

I’m sure there’s plenty going on behind the scenes to add to the squad and those gaps were highlighted given how the team set up and the lack of real quality from the bench.

The second have was still a positive one, but given the quality of the opposition 2-0 wasn’t a bad result. What should encourage us is that we had the chances to get a draw at least.

The team is coming together but there are holes frontbench back to be filled in the coming weeks.

Sunderland v AS Roma: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Sean Brown says...

I can only echo most of the lads' thoughts. We approached the game with aggression and bite, but lacked a great deal up front thanks largely to the absence of Stewart.

In the first 45 minutes we broke up play well, with some lovely shithousery from Luke O’Nien who clearly thought pulling out of tackles wasn’t what was required. Matete’s movement and physicality was impressive against quality players. Embleton showed flashes of skill, but unfortunately a lot of it was cancelled out by the lack of any real outlet besides Dajaku, who just couldn’t deal with Smalling and made a bit of a mess later in the game of a clear opportunity to pass the ball for a tap in.

Can’t really complain, but definitely work to be done with regards to recruitment - pretty sure Alex Neil will be happy with it overall, he knows what he wants from the squad and knows what he needs.

Sunderland v AS Roma: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Derek Carter says...

This was another one of the proverbial ‘game of two halves’, as we more than held our own in the first period but faded badly in the second. Having said that it was still a decent workout against quality opposition, and Alex Neil will have learned a lot about his squad.

On the plus side, it was good to see Cirkin and Clarke combining well down the left, Embleton driving forward from midfield and Matete snapping at the heels, breaking up Roma’s attacks, and in general it showed that we have the makings of a decent squad.

However, it also highlighted how desperate we are for options up front. Dajaku tried his best but he’s not an out-and-out striker, and Diamond had one of those frustrating performances where he showed flashes of skill followed by poor decisions.

As I said earlier it will have been a learning experience for Alex, especially with regard to foreign referees, which will stand him in good stead when he gets us into Europe!

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