Andrew Smithson says..
I think the bulk of the team has done well to recover from the Stoke City defeat, considering the level of opposition we’ve faced since, but I’d like to say a quick word on Anthony Patterson.
It can’t be easy for a young goalkeeper when the side concedes five goals at home, so for him to be able to put that to the back of his mind so quickly is very impressive.
This strikes me as one his biggest strengths. He rarely dwells on things by the looks of it, and has once again responded with some very smart saves.
I remember some people questioning him after the game at Wycombe Wanderers last season, but it felt harsh to me.
There were also a few grumbles on Saturday regarding Luton Town’s goal but again, I think a couple of things went against the lad for that.
Either way, for such a young player to have shown so much consistency is superb going. We know that having an inexperienced squad will mean things may get bumpy from time to time but the evidence suggests they’re keen to learn from the off-days.
Rather than causing Sunderland to crumble, the manner of Stoke’s win might actually be the making of us.
Mark Wood says…
For me, it’s Luke O’Nien all the way.
Our injury problems at left back forced Tony Mowbray to ask ‘Mr Versatility’ to step in and play in a position that isn’t natural to him. However, just as he does when he fills in at right back or in central defence, he looks like a natural.
You can say that his performances are a bit more than ‘done well all things considered’; they’re as good as anyone has shown in those three games and he’s probably been our best player.
The guy keeps bringing more tools to the party than a Swiss army knife; he’d probably play in goal if he was asked to and would likely be good at that, too.
Phil West says...
Collectively, the entire squad has responded very well to the brutal defeats we suffered in late February and early March, and several individuals have bounced back impressively.
However, my pick is Edouard Michut, simply for the confidence that he's displayed during the three games since the Stoke drubbing,
He entered the fray at half time that day and was doubtless shaken by what transpired during the second half. For a young player, that can often be the sort of thing that deals a big blow to your confidence as things fall apart and you desperately try to turn the ride.
However, the on-loan PSG midfielder has been calm and composed in the three games since and is making a very strong case for a permanent switch to Wearside in the summer.
The sheer work rate he contributed as we (perhaps surprisingly) eked out a 0-1 victory over Norwich was great to see and his goal against Sheffield United in midweek was a real standout moment, too.
He seems to be a very level-headed and unflappable character, and like many of his teammates, he’s emerged from a tough time without any visible after-effects.