Six things we learned from Sunderland's start to the season at Manchester City

John O'Shea battles with Fabian Delph in the centre of midfield - will the captain continue in that role against Middlesbrough? Photo: Frank Reid

John O'Shea battles with Fabian Delph in the centre of midfield - will the captain continue in that role against Middlesbrough? Photo: Frank Reid

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While Sunderland suffered a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City, fans had a chance to see how new boss David Moyes is shaping the side.

Here are six things we picked out from the Etihad performance:

1. It's going to be a while before we can call this a David Moyes team.

Time. It's the most precious commodity in football and it's what David Moyes needs as he continues Sam Allardyce's good work in building a team that is solid but poses a threat. As Moyes said after the game, he wants a team that Sunderland fans are excited to watch but that won't happen overnight. Patience will be required if he is to achieve that ambition.

2. Lee Cattermole may face a longer spell on the sidelines.

David Moyes revealed after the defeat that Cattermole could go under the knife to cure a hernia problem after missing the opening fixture. It would be a blow to a midfield that is also missing Jan Kirchoff and Seb Larsson through injury.

3. Reinforcements are needed.

John O'Shea did a job against City as he sat in front of the defence and broke up play. But he can't be expected to do the same each week with the pace of the Premier League and as mentioned above, injuries are mounting. Moyes was very clear after the game that the centre of midfield is an area of concern that needs to be addressed in the next couple of weeks.

4. Sunderland fans are ready to go again.

After another energy-sapping relegation battle and another managerial change, Sunderland fans could be excused for feeling somewhat fatigued going into the new campaign. But the passion on show at the Etihad was phenomenal and it was clear to see that the energy and noise from the stands made its way onto the pitch. The Stadium of Light should be rocking for Middlesbrough's visit.

5. Jermain Defoe continues to be Jermain Defoe.

He's still the man you want the ball to fall to in the box and looks as sharp now at 33 as he did at 23 years old. He's now 10th highest in the Premier League scorer charts and has scored in an incredible 16 different seasons. He led the line with authority and will play a vital role nurturing the young players coming into the team. Old boss Sam Allardyce was watching on in the Etihad - a very late England cap, anyone?

6. Sunderland's young talent will get a chance to shine.

David Moyes has a history of promoting young, talented players to the first team and initial signs are that will continue with Sunderland. Duncan Watmore, Lyndon Gooch and Joel Asoro all featured on the teamsheet on Saturday. Watmore and Gooch's enthusiasm was one of the positives to take from the defeat and Moyes was keen to highlight their good work. Moyes will be hoping to get new faces in soon so the pressure doesn't rest on the younger members of the squad but they will be confident of pushing for regular appearances.