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Sunderland v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: How can Sunderland iron out the inconsistencies in their game?

Friday’s crazy 4-4 draw with Hull came on the back of a disciplined and resolute performance at Burnley. Why are we so prone to such contrasting displays and how can we fix it?

Photo by Ian horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gav says…

I largely put it down to the way we’re coached, to be honest.

That’s not a slight on Tony Mowbray, because I think he recognises that we’re very good at a certain way of playing and not so good at varying it up, so we’re geared up to playing forwards and getting it to our front players.

Unfortunately, that means we’re often vulnerable in the middle of the park and when losing possession, which is an issue we’ve had for a while now.

Most of the goals we concede are the same or come from similar situations, and we’ve not done much to address it.

The loss of Corry Evans in midfield has been crucial to how we’ve struggled to defend but unfortunately, he’s not likely to come back anytime soon so we’ve just got to make do with what we’ve got.

I don’t think Edouard Michut and Dan Neil are a good pair and we’d be better off starting Pierre Ekwah, as he’s more capable of sitting in.

I know people might not agree based on his rusty, late tackle on Friday but he deserves a proper chance and proper run of games before being judged.

Burnley are a very different proposition to Cardiff. We’ve got to adapt.

Sunderland v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Joseph Tulip says…

I thought the two performances were contrasting in the extreme.

What been a well organised, highly disciplined team working to a coherent game plan at Burnley was quite the opposite at home to Hull.

It was a strange game and a strange day all round, perhaps with it being Good Friday and an unusual kick off time, but that’s no excuse for the way we approached the match.

Just like Burnley, our visitors like to play out from the back, yet for whatever reason we opted to abandon the press which had worked so effectively at Turf Moor.

Alex Pritchard was left on the bench and we seemed happy for Hull to knock the ball around in their own half. They grew in confidence, were able to get forward and they cut through our lines with too much space and insufficient protection between defence and midfield.

On the few occasions we did press, we won the ball in midfield, moved it quickly and caused them problems, but it was too little too late.

Had we started on the front foot and made life uncomfortable for Hull on the ball, I think we would’ve ran out comfortable winners.

That being said, it still doesn’t explain our tired-looking defence.

Perhaps a bit of rotation after the heroics at Turf Moor might’ve been in order, especially with the likes of Dennis Cirkin waiting for an opportunity.

It’s easy to analyse with hindsight, but I think we should put this down to valuable experience. It was a day of mixed fortunes but our defensive display was uncharacteristic and I don’t believe it’ll be repeated at Cardiff tomorrow.

Malc Dugdale says…

I think we got the shape and tactics pretty much bang on against Burnley but slightly wrong against Hull, and Tony Mowbray has to take both credit and blame in equal measure across the two ties.

The space in between our lines of defence and midfield against Hull was such that even a team who’ve really struggled to create chances and score goals had a field day.

We scored four goals without Ross Stewart but it was at the other end and in the middle where we lost the battle and the two extra points. Why we didn’t change our midfield sooner in order to react is a mystery to me.

To fix it for Cardiff, we need to find a balance between the defensive masterclass at Turf Moor and the attacking prowess we showed at home to the Tigers, and maybe score a couple without letting too much happen at our end.

Mowbray and the team got it right only two games ago, so they can certainly get it right again, and hopefully that’s the case on Monday!

Sunderland v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images


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