Wise Men Say: Pressure’s now huge for Sunderland’s must-win game at Brentford

A Sunderland fan watches Saturday's draw against QPR. Picture by Frank Reid
A Sunderland fan watches Saturday's draw against QPR. Picture by Frank Reid
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There were almost no positives from Saturday’s game against QPR.

McGeady’s goal aside, I’m struggling to think of anything positive at all.

I suppose we didn’t get beat, and Watmore played well.

A few weeks ago, I wrote, after the Cardiff game, about the importance of not getting cut adrift at the bottom of the table.

That is exactly what we are doing – we are now more than a win away from safety.

Even bottom club Bolton won at the weekend and their next game is QPR at home.

Based on what we saw of the Londoners on Saturday, Bolton could easily leave us bottom of the Championship if we don’t get something at Brentford.

The actual game was horrible.

QPR were very poor, created almost nothing, yet we couldn’t beat them.

We had a least started on the front foot, with Honeyman going close, but then the pressure dropped and the game went stale.

We then decided to hand QPR the lead. The goal was a shambles, as the increasingly disappointing Ndong needlessly conceded a corner which was “defended” and we fell behind.

A bit of huff and puff before half-time led to a moment of quality from Watmore playing in McGeady, who somehow put it wide when through on goal.

Aside from that, there was little danger of finding the target.

I’ve defended James Vaughan recently, but he offered nothing against QPR. He wasn’t even a nuisance, didn’t win anything in the air and was rightly substituted at half-time.

The introduction of Williams and Grabban at least made us a bit brighter, but how Williams doesn’t start in that midfield is baffling.

For periods, the second half was absolutely shambolic – honestly, it was one of the worst passages of football I have ever seen.

The players looked more and more devoid of confidence and even basic ability – passes going out of play, people unable to even control the ball, no movement at all and long balls aimlessly launched upfield.

McGeady then made up for his miss in the first half with a fantastic strike to drag us back into the game. You’d think that was maybe what we needed to turn it around and get another goal.

After that, Grabban came close, but, ultimately, we never looked likely to win the game.

Nowhere near good enough.

It’s also worth mentioning that Jason Steele terrifies me. He made some saves on Saturday, but the way he does so is alarming and sends panic rifling through the stadium.

Our goalkeeping situation is dire and is something that needs addressing.

Onwards to Brentford away this weekend and it’s a must-win game for me.

Lose and we could be bottom of the league.

Williams surely must play in midfield, with Watmore and Grabban up top. Who knows what to do about the goalkeeper? O’Shea must play every game he can.

I don’t really know where we go from here, and evidently we are in serious trouble.

Something, anything, needs to happen to get a bit of upwards momentum around the place.

I said in this column before that if we get stuck down there, we won’t fight our way out of it.

It’s looking increasingly likely. Prove me wrong, Sunderland.

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