Wise Men Say: Moyes must show his managerial mettle now

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After the Everton game, I was all for us setting up to try and defend against Spurs.

We needed to become hard to beat again and, with us possessing a high amount of defensive minded players in our side, I could see that being the way forward.

So, when I saw our starting 11 for the visit to White Hart Lane, I was cautiously optimistic.

Don’t get me wrong, I still expected to lose the game, but I thought we’d at least match the home side in terms of competitiveness. How wrong I was.

Even with the quality of Jan Kirchhoff and combative nature of Lee Cattermole bolstering our ranks, Tottenham still bypassed our midfield with relative ease.

Didier Ndong was a small ray of light, not shying away from tackles and showing some good touches in the first half, but it wasn’t enough for a Sunderland side so clearly lacking in ideas.

It wasn’t like we defended particularly well, either. If we’re honest, Spurs could have been out of sight if it wasn’t for Jordan Pickford.

The young goalkeeper kept the scoreline respectable throughout and must have been furious when he saw Papy Djilobodji look at a ball like it’s an object he’s never seen in his life, before allowing Harry Kane the chance to make it 1-0.

It may be time to take Djilobodji out of the firing line as his partner, Lamine Kone, was decent but will always find it difficult playing alongside someone who looks so out of his depth.

I wouldn’t even be against bringing John O’Shea back in, if that will shore up our comically leaky defence.

Javier Manquillo performed relatively well out of position at left-back, while Jason Denayer looked totally uncomfortable at right-back, always struggling against the likes of Son Heung-min.

It was a badly set-up defence and Moyes has to shoulder his part of the blame for that.

I’m sure the manager will accept his responsibility, but he has to prove that he can turn this situation around.

Sunderland never seemed to be interested in attacking Tottenham, even though the one time they did, they were a goal line clearance away from going 1-0 up.

If you’re going to be defensive then you have to still try and counter-attack, just like we were doing in the second half of last season. One of the main protagonists in our good displays last term was Patrick van Aanholt, who was mystery dropped during the warm up and Moyes seemed to be bizarrely evasive on the matter when questioned by the post-match reporters.

It may seem like a small thing, but strange occurrences like that are often worrying when things are already going badly. I genuinely hope I’m just reading too much into that.

A 1-0 defeat away to a very strong Spurs side may not look embarrassing on the face of it but this was a very poor display, sprinkled with basic errors.

A centre-half who can’t defend, a winger who bottles tackles all game then gets sent off for a cowardly challenge and bringing on Paddy McNair when you’re 1-0 down in stoppage time.

A thoroughly depressing afternoon which puts a massive amount of pressure on our upcoming successive home games. Time for David Moyes to show his managerial mettle.

* The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction. You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes