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Luton Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Play Off - Semi Final - Second Leg - Kenilworth Road

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Two Up, Two Down: What are the positives & negatives from Sunderland’s loss at Luton?

The Lads went down 2-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate, bringing a superb season to a close on a sour note. What did our writers make of the game?

Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images

Kelvin Beattie says…

Trai Hume impresses

What a performance from Hume.

Tackles, headers, interventions and blocks, along with some cool use of the ball while under pressure.

He’s been a very good signing indeed and hopefully he can push on next season.

Faith in our young players

I’ve really enjoyed watching us play this season.

Our willingness to get the ball down and play has been a joy to watch at times, and the nucleus of this team will carry us far next season, if I know anything about the magnificent obsession that’s football a-la Sunderland!

Farewell, Amad

It’s been a delight to watch this dancer waltz his way through the Championship this season.

He saved his worst game for last but some credit should go to Luton for nullifying his threat.

Goodbye, and bonne chance, Amad. C’est magnifique!

Coping with disappointment

Having regarded the playoffs as an unexpected bonus at the end of a very good season, I found myself more disappointed than I should’ve been at the end of the game.

Perhaps it’s the illogical logic of your average football fan.

Being a Sunderland fan and coping with regular disappointment has been a recurring experience since 1966 when I first started going to Roker Park.

However, the disappointment on this occasion is more easily managed, because I can see that we’ve got a plan that’ll help the club to grow, and there are better times ahead, I fancy.

Well done, Sunderland AFC. A cracking season on the pitch!

Luton Town v Sunderland: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says…

An epic season either way

We had no right to make the top six this season and we did, taking a team who finished well above us all the way and almost getting to Wembley twice in two seasons.

That can never represent anything other than a hugely successful season.

Youth is on our side

This group of players will continue to grow and thrive, and will be complemented by even more great signings in the summer.

This squad is going to learn from this experience and next season, watch us fly!

Injuries were the difference

If we’d had half of our injured players last night, the result would’ve been massively different.

With Danny Batth and Dan Ballard in the team, those scrambled goals from aerial knock downs don’t happen.

We overachieved despite massive adversity and we’ll bounce back. I’ve never been happier despite the failure to make Wembley again.

No second negative!

I’m immensely proud of the progress this club has made, the football we play and where we’re headed.

Every single lad who’s pulled on a shirt for us this campaign deserves a massive thanks from the fans, and we’re now a club that every young player will want to come to, either on loan or to build a long-term career.

This is just the start. Watch this space and get your bets on the Lads for the top two next season right now.

Tom Albrighton says…

The entire season

What a season, regardless of the result.

For a team plagued by injuries from just about the first kick of the season to the last, this team has defied almost all the odds on their way to a playoff campaign that looked improbable even up to the final day.

Sunderland fans have been given a team to be proud of and even if last night didn’t go our way, these lads deserve immense credit.

Learning curve

It’s not often players get the chance to learn in pressure cooker environments, and whilst it was clear some of our lads suffered for this, it’s an exceptional learning curve.

Next season will see more pressure and expectation placed on this side, so having the opportunity to learn outside of their comfort zone will prove to be invaluable experience down the line.

Sub-par performances

It was just one of those nights where too many players had an average game.

Full of heart and desire right up until the last, the players can’t be accused of giving anything less than their all, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.

Our passing, pressing and shooting was poor, and although credit must go to Luton, who executed a brilliant game plan, we made their job a hell of a lot easier.

Amad’s farewell

Amad was poor last night and it’s such a shame that a player who’s lit up Sunderland should see his final game for us slide away in a nothing performance.

Replacing him will be one hell of a task and one that few will envy. Weight will be placed heavily upon finding someone who can link up as seamlessly as he’s done with Patrick Roberts.

Seeing Amad leave will be a bittersweet moment as he’s definitely earned his chance elsewhere despite everyone’s desire for him to stay, even for just a few more months.

They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, but I think for now we’ll struggle to see it that way.

Luton Town v Sunderland: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images


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