Sunderland boss not concerned by long-term struggles at the Stadium of Light

Grayson thinks Sunderland will turn their home form around
Grayson thinks Sunderland will turn their home form around
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Boss Simon Grayson says he is not particularly concerned by Sunderland’s long-term struggles at the Stadium of Light.

Saturday evening’s 2-0 defeat to Leeds means that the Black Cats have not won at home since beating Watford 1-0 in December 2016.

Grayson, however, says that he has been encouraged by much of what he has seen in the first two home games of the season and expects fortunes to improve in the coming weeks.

Asked about any concerns, he said: “No, not really. I want to win matches, of course I do, but sometimes you’ve got to look at the bigger picture of how the team are playing and how they respond in the games.

“Both games at home, we’ve shown some good characteristics and that will continue.

“If we do that, we’ll win more games at home than we lose. Sheffield United (next home game), let’s make sure we start getting that right with our next home game.”

Sunderland struggled to create clear openings after going a goal behind to Leeds, but Grayson felt his side’s work-rate was cause for optimism and has prioritised greater quality in the final third going forward.

He said: “I’m pleased and impressed by them because the Derby situation, you go a goal down when you dominate the game, but we didn’t let that affect us.

“(On Saturday) again we didn’t let it affect us too much. We didn’t feel sorry for ourselves, we kept going, we huffed and puffed rather than having any real quality, so it’s something we’ve had to empathise to the players – what’s gone is gone, part of the history books, it’s what we do going forwards.

“I don’t think too many times will have had Derby, Sheffield Wednesday, Norwich and Leeds in the first four games of season.”

Right-back Billy Jones echoed his manager’s sentiment and felt his team could have made better decisions.

He said: “Within the final third, we were maybe shooting from distance at times when we could have got a few more passes in. We’ve got match-winners in the final third. We’ve got people who can get to the byline and get crosses in, and people who are a threat one vs one.

“Maybe we just rushed it and forced it a bit at times. I’m sure we’ll look at that and see where we can improve.”