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Fulham v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round

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Sunderland’s brand of football is winning new fans - and not just in the North East!

As we continue to impress with our free-flowing and eye-catching style of play, it’s great to see TV and radio analysts speaking so positively about our approach, writes Mark Wood

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

After drawing at Fulham in the FA Cup on Saturday, we can rightly be proud of the performance of the team that Tony Mowbray put out.

Marco Silva’s side had their chances, but we carved them open time and again, and could’ve even won the match with a little more luck. Picking up where we left off against Middlesborough, Mowbray’s young team produced the flowing football that’s becoming our trademark.

Fulham v Sunderland - Emirates FA Cup - Fourth Round - Craven Cottage Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Post-match, one thing that was particularly noticeable on national radio was how much the pundits were raving about Sunderland.

They were talking about the brand of football played and waxing lyrical about how many young and promising players are in the side.

These are things we’ve been talking about for months, and Dan Neil, Dan Ballard, Edouard Michut, Amad, Patrick Roberts and Anthony Patterson were all singled out for praise by reporters.

One quote, in particular, was telling: ‘Sunderland are a Championship team, but they play Premier League football’, and when tuning in to ‘Match of the Day’ on Saturday night, they were at it again.

This time, they gave us the opening slot and highlighted the mesmerising link-up play between Amad and Patrick Roberts, something that had Mowbray excited from the first time they played together.

Fulham v Sunderland: Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Make no mistake: the national media were enthralled on Saturday night - and it was our team that had captivated them.

However, was it really a surprise? After all, we’ve been watching performances like Saturday all season.

Not every week, admittedly, and there’s no doubt that we’re prone to misfire from time to time. Also, whenever we’ve played without a striker, it’s obviously a weakness, but it’s also undeniable that the project is starting to bear fruit.

After being subjected to years of unambitious, directionless and at times downright disastrous policies from those at the helm, some of us have become conditioned to the practice of firmly keeping our feet on the ground- or simply used to seeing it all go wrong.

Therefore, despite the excitement from sections of our own fanbase in recent months, there are those who’ll admit the team has been playing well, but feel that some fans are getting carried away.

However, when you hear the national media lavishing praise on our team - and not for the first time this season - is it not time to listen and think they might be onto something?

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gone are the days when the only time Sunderland would make the headlines was for all the wrong reasons.

In order to keep everyone’s feet on the ground, Mowbray expressed disappointment that we didn’t convert more than one of the chances we created in London, and his comments also hinted that the replay could be much more difficult for us.

For one thing, we’ll be unable to call on Ross Stewart, and Fulham will have had time to contemplate how to face a ‘false nine’, and to come up with a way of stopping Amad and Roberts.

However, this is a team with the energy, ambition and talent to create memories of their own, ones that could compare with the best in the lifetimes of our supporters.

The replay against the Cottagers could turn out to be one of those very special nights at the Stadium of Light.


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