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Sunderland v Newcastle United - Emirates FA Cup Third Round

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Fan Letters: “Let’s learn from our FA Cup experience and move on”

Thoughts on our 0-3 defeat at the hands of Newcastle are filling the RR mailbag today. Got something to say? Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk

Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images


Dear Roker Report,

That’s another distraction out of the way and hopefully we can learn from the experience and move on, because the result was never in doubt and the better team won, even though that’s hard to admit from a Sunderland point of view.

Now we can concentrate on finishing in the top six but the lessons from Saturday are clear: the defence did reasonably well overall but Trai Hume has to learn to stay on his feet, because diving in on speedy wingers can be dangerous.

Our midfield of Jobe, Dan Neil and Pierre Ekwah are talented but they were out of their depth as a group, both defensively and as an attacking force.

Jobe in particular was one-paced and ineffective both on and off the ball, whereas our forwards had plenty of huff and puff but were generally ineffective as well.

It was also disappointing to see that Michael Beale didn’t use his substitutes more effectively. It wouldn’t have changed the result but tired legs could’ve been given a rest and other young players given a taste of the encounter.

Ipswich is our next big game and the chance to make amends quickly is there for us to take. Hopefully players will have learned from this game.

Bill Fisher

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Bill. Thanks for your letter.

There’s no doubt that the 0-3 on Saturday was a disappointing result, but I don’t believe we learned anything from the game that we didn’t already know beforehand.

We knew that there would be a sizeable gulf in quality, which in itself wasn’t too bad, but what disappointed me the most was the fact that we made things too easy for Newcastle at times and the goals were cheaply conceded, which made it even more frustrating.

That said, our season was never going to be defined by this game, and we’ve now got a week to recover ahead of a tricky game against Ipswich at Portman Road.

Let’s hope that Michael Beale and the Lads can get this one out of their systems quickly and refocus on the league, which was always our main objective.

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

The game is done, the insults and piss taking have taken place before and I’m sure will continue after the game, but the simple truth is that the Lads were beaten by a better side.

However, the team we played is funded by a nation that imprisons or kills its own people who defend human rights or for being gay.

It welcomes a visit from an old friend, the war criminal Vladimir Putin, and it spends billions on buying footballers, golfers, and boxers.

This is money that it could spend on its own people but prefers to spend on sports washing its reputation, and all of this is another simple truth.

Losing hurts but I wouldn’t want to swap who we are for who they’ve become and what they represent.

After Saturday, I love Sunderland even more!

Neil Watkinson

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Neil. Thanks for getting in touch.

The brutal truth, even though Newcastle fans wouldn’t like to admit it, is that they’ve allowed the very soul of their club-a club originally built on solid, honest stock- to be ripped out and replaced by something uniquely grotesque and immoral.

If that’s how they want to achieve success, that’s their prerogative, but building a team organically and allowing players to learn from these experiences and improve as a result will be infinitely more rewarding in the long run, and that’s exactly what we’re doing at Sunderland.

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

After watching the derby match, it’s very easy to see the difference in quality between the two sides. It was an easy win for the Magpies, we didn’t look like a threat, and our current defence would be a soft touch in the Premier League.

Therefore, I sincerely hope that the Sunderland hierarchy change their mind about mainly having young players because without experience and quality strikers, I can’t see us going up even via the playoffs, because the other top teams in our division all appear to have quality in their squads.

The stubborn mindset of the hierarchy has already cost Tony Mowbray his job, and even Alex Neil must’ve left for the same reasons.

My final thought is the fact that Jewison Bennette can’t be selected, even as a substitute, is mind-boggling.

He’s a top quality player and much better than some of the substitutes who keep getting selected and in my opinion, he should be given a run in the team and the chance to prove the doubters wrong.

We could even try him as a striker along with Nazariy Rusyn as we have nothing to lose. We need to be more attacking and more exciting to watch.

At the moment, most sides know how to play against us and if we take Jack Clarke and Alex Pritchard out of the team, would we even survive in this league?

I sincerely hope we sign some quality players this month.

Harish Shah

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Harish. Thanks for your letter.

Saturday was certainly a tough experience for our players and a disappointing day for everyone connected with the club, but I don’t think it should overshadow the bigger picture, which I do believe is largely positive.

At the moment, our fight isn’t with Newcastle. It’s with Leeds, West Bromwich Albion, Hull, Norwich, and the other teams vying for Championship promotion, and we’re more than capable of mounting a challenge for the top six, which was the primary goal for this season.

We’re some way off being ready for the Premier League, but that’s fine. There’s a process being followed and I hope that when we do get promoted, we’re ready to compete and not just make up the numbers.

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Yes, we’re all disappointed with the derby result but let’s have a bit of perspective.

We were beaten by a side which cost over thirty times times the total cost of our eleven and who had a striker who cost nearly ten times the amount of our team on his own!

We fought and competed which is what we want to see, and let’s hope the chairman, the head coach and the players learn from it and strive to keep improving.

It’s a lesson but it’s not the end of the world.

John Briggs

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, John. Thanks for getting in touch.

The biggest thing I think we can take away from Saturday is that in order to compete in the Premier League (which we’re still a long way from being ready to do), our players need to learn to handle big games more effectively.

I felt like our attitude wasn’t quite right on Saturday, and that we made it too easy for Newcastle at times. As long as we learn from that and use it to keep improving as you say, we can be better for it in the long run.

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’m disappointed, frustrated and angry.

Game plan? What game plan? Tactics? What tactics?

We allowed Newcastle to control the game and we also fell over backwards to accommodate them before the game. Why were they allowed to play in their home strip?

This was the worst game I’ve seen since League One and if this is all Michael Beale can offer, he needs to go.

No substitutes were brought on other than Abdoullah Ba, and he’s rubbish.

Roll on Ipswich so we can get stuffed again.

Bill Calvert

Ed’s Note [Phil]: Hi, Bill. Thanks for your letter.

It was just a bad day all round, wasn’t it?

Six thousand Newcastle fans occupying the away end, their team winning without even getting out of third gear, and our lads given a chasing on a day where we needed to be at our absolute best to have a chance of victory.

All we can do is park it, move on, and get ready for the trip to Suffolk, which will be another stiff test for Michael Beale and the players.

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

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