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Sunderland v Rotherham United - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light

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Two Up, Two Down: What positives & negatives can we pluck from Sunderland’s performance?

The Lads secured their first league win of the season with a 2-1 win over the Millers on Saturday. What were the positives and negatives from the game?

Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

Sunderland rediscover their shape and mojo

Jobe had a stormer but I have to say that the return of our old form, shape and quick passing, especially in the second half, was a joy to watch.

We didn’t really get into our groove until later than we would’ve liked, and another deflected pass leading to Rotherham’s chance was another sucker punch.

The longer the game went on, the better we looked, and hopefully the quick pace of our play is back and we can build from here.

Better game management

We almost grabbed a third goal when Hemir came on, and he couldn’t have hit his low strike much better other than it being on the wrong side of the post, but the way we managed the game for the final half an hour or so was a real credit to the Lads.

It would’ve been easy to go a bit too attacking, especially in front of 40,000 fans, which can cost us valuable points if it goes wrong.

We didn’t do that though. Everyone really dug in after Jobe’s second and the three points were very well protected by all.

A missed chance for Hemir

The first half wasn’t great and I can’t help thinking it would’ve improved with the big lad on from the start.

I’m not sure what’s going on but for me he should be starting, with Bradley Dack coming on for the last twenty or thirty minutes and not the other way around.

It didn’t matter yesterday, as we got the win, but I’m not sure we can continue to send out our starting eleven without a proper striker, and hopefully more options will be available for the next game.

Patrick Roberts’ injury

It looked like Roberts was holding either his quad or his hamstring when he went off after treatment, and his absence even for a couple of games could be a major challenge.

He’s been immense in the games we’ve lost and against the Millers, he drew in defenders whenever he was on the ball.

Let’s hope his withdrawal was a precaution and he’s OK for the next game, as I’m not sure how well our quick passing will work without him.

I’m also not sure who we could put in while maintaining the same level of threat, so fingers crossed this isn’t a worry we need to have!

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

Michael Dunne says...

Jobe shines again

It’s hard to believe that this fellow is only seventeen, because what a performance it was from him.

Not only were his two goals both decent finishes, his hold-up play, movement and general play was a cut above most on the pitch.

He basically played as a striker and he didn’t look out of place at all, so it’s hard not to be excited by him.

A good response to falling behind

Yesterday was a tricky game due to our poor start to the season.

The fans were a little nervy and the concession of a goal early in the first half put everyone a little more on edge.

However, the response from the players was exactly what we needed and they put a really good move together to get us back level. From this point on, we were on top and playing quite well.

An injury blow for Patrick Roberts?

It’s hard to know just after the game, but hopefully the injury to Patrick Roberts doesn’t turn out to be too bad.

He’s probably started the season as one of our best performers and we can’t really afford to be without him.

A Stadium of Light culinary crisis

My half time pie was absolutely rubbish.

Tom Albrighton says...

Bellingham catches the eye

He was absolutely outstanding and he played like a player twice his age.

From his composure on the ball to his work off it and two good finishes, Jobe’s performance was as close to perfect as you’ll get.

It’ll be exciting watching him develop but for now, we just have to enjoy performances like this, and the hardest thing facing Tony Mowbray is not overplaying such a talented young footballer.

Confidence returning

Yesterday could’ve gone badly, especially after conceding first.

What was pleasing though was that we showed the first glimpses of the resilience that served us so well last season. As the confidence returned, we could all see that as the passing became more crisp, the movement grew sharper and players started to express themselves more.

Despite being the better team in all three games so far, this was the first occasion where we looked like the Sunderland of last season.

Concern for Patrick Roberts

Seeing Roberts leave the field injured will be a concern for all, given how integral he is to the way we play.

With the departure of Isaac Lihadji leaving us somewhat short in that area, Roberts’ injury may serve as a warning shot that we need to recruit fairly sharpish.

Here’s hoping that his withdrawal was more precautionary than anything else, but given our injury luck last season, we may be better served assuming the worst but hoping for the best.

A slow start to proceedings

The way we began the game was ponderous and if we start like that against better sides, we’ll be put to the sword early on.

The intensity was severely lacking and that was really highlighted by the change at half time whereby Ballard and O’Nien sharpening their possession play filtered through the whole side.

You’d hope as confidence builds, so will our ability to assert ourselves on games to a greater degree than we’ve done so far this season.

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


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