Sam Allardyce insists there is nothing he can do on the training ground to avoid a repeat of Sunderland’s wastefulness at Arsenal.
It’s 32 years and counting since Sunderland recorded an away league win against the Gunners, after the Black Cats’ were propelled back into second-bottom spot in the Premier League, when Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at the Emirates was followed by Chelsea’s shock loss against Bournemouth and Newcastle’s win over Liverpool yesterday.
You can’t coach finishers, all those coaches who say they coach finishing are lyingSam Allardyce
However, Sunderland could – and should – have come away with at least a point, with Fabio Borini, Steven Fletcher, Duncan Watmore and Patrick van Aanholt all spurning golden opportunities, either side of Olivier Giroud’s own goal.
Allardyce was deprived of the services of joint top scorer Jermain Defoe, although the England international is expected to return for this Saturday’s visit of Watford to the Stadium of Light.
But the Sunderland manager believes that finishing is a natural instinct, which he has to hope his players can rediscover.
“You can’t coach finishers. All those coaches who say they coach finishing are lying,” said Allardyce.
“Our natural finisher is Jermain Defoe.
“All the other lads can score goals, but they’re not natural finishers. Jermain is.
“So, perhaps if he’d have been on the field, he’d have maybe had two or three.
“But I still think that Steven Fletcher’s got four this year already. Duncan’s scored a couple.
“So, we’re really disappointed, because the chances at the time they came, were to put us in front, not to get us back in the game, they were to get us in the lead.
“That’s the other frustration from my point of view.”
Sunderland had netted eight goals during Allardyce’s opening six games and had no problems creating opportunities against the Gunners – Borini going clean through inside the opening four minutes.
The chances continued when Sunderland were both level and behind, with van Aanholt spurning a glorious 89th minute opportunity before Arsenal sealed the points in stoppage time with Aaron Ramsey’s strike.
The outcome was frustrating for Allardyce, who could not question the quality of Sunderland’s general performance.
He added: “I think we’ve been all right with finishing up to Saturday, because even our goal wasn’t scored by us, which, on the basis of how many chances we created, the fact that none of our players have scored is very sad.
“But these are not half-chances, these are golden chances, and I think we’ve missed golden chances.
“Then when your left-back gets one, you hope he’s going to put it in, but he didn’t.
“But he’s not paid to be a goalscorer, the others are.
“It’s sad for us, very disappointing, very frustrating.
“Performance-wise ‘Well done lads’, but results-wise it’s down to our poor finishing, sadly.”