KEVIN BALL says that Sunderland’s players must use the lessons learned from the defeat against Liverpool last week to produce an improved performance against Manchester United tomorrow.
The interim head coach spent a lengthy session with the players this week dissecting what went wrong and what went right for the Black Cats in their 3-1 defeat to the Reds.
And he believes they can use the benefits of that analysis when they face the Red Devils at the Stadium of Light tomorrow teatime.
Ball told the Echo: “There was a lot that I was really pleased about in the way that we played against Liverpool
“And, by the same token, there were a few areas where I was disappointed and that I felt we could improve.
“But I think we had a really good session this week, looking at that game.
“You have to remember that we are still a new team that is coming together and there were at times some really positive signs.
“The goals, we might have done better on – especially the first one – and also the second one – but we were very honest about that and looked at ways we should have covered and defended better.
“But it was also important to stress what we did well because we have to have confidence and it’s worth remembering that referee Howard Webb and the officials weren’t too happy with their own performances, I gather.
“Although we defended badly for the first goal, Danny Sturridge did score with his elbow, while we should have had a penalty earlier with the foul on Adam Johnson starting in the box, so a few things could easily have gone our way on the day and we have to be encouraged by that.”
The Black Cats are going in search of their first league win of the 2013/14 campaign at the seventh attempt this weekend.
And their task becomes no easier with the reigning Premier League champions coming to town, a fact that caretaker boss Ball appreciates.
“We’re in the middle of what we knew was always going to be a difficult run of home fixtures and they don’t come any harder than a game against Man United,” he said.
“I know what people say about them not having the best of starts to the season by their own standards and about them playing in Europe midweek.
“But this is Man United we are talking about and they have a big squad of world-class internationals.
“I’m a big admirer of the club and their manager, David Moyes, who I believe will go on to be a big success.
“But we’ve got to be on our game and do everything we can to make sure we come out with the best result for Sunderland this weekend.”