Dear Roker Report,
Following our defeat to Cardiff, I can’t help but still feel really positive and confident for what this season holds.
We were labelled ‘overachievers’ last season and rightly so, but if we were to achieve something similar this season, based on the few games we’ve played, we would more than deserve to be up there.
After Southampton, QPR and especially Blackburn, it’s hard not to believe this team is full of of talent and that it only looks to be getting stronger. In fact, it’s been a very long time since I’ve watched a defeat with such little hangover from the loss.
Yes, we lost a late goal after switching off from a corner which came from one of far too many loose passes, but instead of thinking ‘we’ve done a Sunderland’, as has been the case for many seasons, I’m quite happy to see it for what it was.
Cardiff came with a plan to sit with eleven men behind the ball for ninety minutes and try and nick it on the break or from a set piece. That’s not Sunderland-specific; that’s just football and it paid off for them.
If anything, it just shows how well we’re performing and what a real threat we are, when teams are coming to the Stadium of Light and looking at walking away from the game with a point as a positive before they’ve even kicked a ball.
Haway the lads!
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Matt. Thanks for your letter.
Sunday’s result, although frustrating, was just one of those outcomes that can occur in such a competitive league. It was one moment of sloppiness that cost us, and I'm sure that our defenders will have been livid about it.
Let’s face it: the Blackburn game on Wednesday evening was a great example of a team soaking up pressure, riding our luck and taking our chances, and Cardiff did the same to us.
That’s the Championship for you, and it must be said that we didn’t play badly at all on Sunday.
Our discipline and commitment were both excellent and we were generally solid albeit without making the breakthrough.
I don’t think every loss needs to result in an inquest, and we just need to be more efficient in attack and switched on in defence, particularly from set pieces, when we visit Hillsborough on Friday night.
Dear Roker Report,
I can’t understand Tony Mowbray’s comments about Cardiff’s ‘eight man defence’.
When you set your team up to build an attack as slowly as we do, it’s inevitable that the opposition are going to retreat to the eighteen-yard line well before our forwards get there.
We’ve learned nothing from last year and unless he actively encourages us to play the ball forwards rather than sideways and backwards, more draws or defeats at home will follow.
Mason Burstow needs some support up front as he looks to be having the same problems as Joe Gelhardt.
Apart from the Jack Clarke shot and the attempt from Alex Pritchard, the first half was a big yawn for most sitting around me, and Cardiff couldn’t believe that we weren’t going at them.
Come on Mowbray, sort this out.
Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Bill. Thanks for getting in touch.
Although we did lack a real cutting edge on Sunday, I didn’t feel we played poorly or that the performance was disjointed.
Some of our buildup play was really crisp and well executed, but we simply couldn’t find the final ball or the killer touch in front of goal to capitalise on it.
Regarding Mason Burstow, I think comparisons between himself and Joe Gelhardt are premature and that it’s much too early to write him off.
He’s clearly got potential and it might not be being demonstrated quite yet, but I'd expect Tony Mowbray to persist with him- albeit possibly not for this Friday’s game at Sheffield Wednesday, which I feel is the ideal chance for Hemir to start and get some much-needed minutes under his belt.