After Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Coventry, the positives to take from the contest were few.
A poor performance at the CBS Arena was greeted with frustration and disappointment, but for a brief moment in the Midlands, we had a glimmer of hope.
Jewison Bennette did brilliantly to apply some pressure onto Gustavo Hamer close to the corner flag before a looping cross dropped to the feet of Amad.
The forward then managed to curl the ball past Ben Wilson and into the top corner, with the Coventry goalkeeper given no chance.
In the short term, it gave the fans a chance to wonder whether Sunderland could do the unthinkable but in the longer term, it could be pivotal for the player himself after a minor recent dip in his standards.
Ultimately, the goal was only a consolation but one of the positives from this latest disappointing result is the impact the goal may have on him.
Overall, Amad’s Sunderland career has been filled with joy, creativity and excitement.
Eleven goal contributions in all competitions have led to some memorable moments for the Ivorian, and after a couple of years away from regular first team football with Atalanta, Manchester United and Rangers, his progress in the red and white has epitomised the club’s recruitment plan.
This was a player rumoured to have cost Manchester United £19 million plus £18 million in add-ons from Atalanta in 2021, and yet he’s only made three substitute appearances for the Red Devils in the UEFA Europa League and FA Cup.
In January, Erik ten Hag commented on not wanting to recall Amad from his loan, despite their own injury worries and the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo, after reservations over the ‘progress’ that he was making.
United must surely be very pleased by the progress that he’s making up here, as the view from the north west is that they need him to be in the best possible shape when he returns to Old Trafford to possibly compete for a first team place.
From his arrival to up to now, Amad has evolved into one of our main men and most dangerous attacking players.
His combination with Patrick Roberts on the right flank has often been deadly for Championship opposition, and his quick feet and trickery has regularly left us in awe of his ability.
Arguably his most significant goal contribution was in the Wear-Tees derby in January, when he and Roberts combined to devastating effect, with Roberts’ flick followed up by Amad pinging the ball past Zack Steffen.
You could also highlight his superb strike away at Wigan after Christmas, or another beautiful goal against Birmingham before the World Cup break.
However, it’s this kind of form and performance that’s been missing from Amad’s displays over the last week- perhaps coinciding with our disappointing dip in form, with only one point out of our last nine.
Against Rotherham on Tuesday night, he looked lost and against a more physical opponent, was a distance from the contest.
Similarly, against Coventry on Saturday, he struggled to create anything meaningful and almost gifted Viktor Gyokeres an opening after a loose back pass to the defence.
By no means is this a criticism of his performances over the past week; after all, he’s set the bar so high this season that anything below it is deemed to be ‘off the pace’.
If anything, his late wonder strike was a flashback to the Amad of only a couple of weeks ago, a real glimmer of the quality he possesses.
Hopefully, ahead of next week’s crunch match against Alex Neil’s Stoke City, this is the return of the Amad that we all know and love.