Bristol Rovers coach Graham Coughlan delivers verdict on defeat at Sunderland after 'whirlwind' few days

Bristol Rovers arrived on Wearside in the League One relegation zone, without a manager and having lost their last four league games.

Sunday, 16th December 2018, 8:03 am
Updated Sunday, 16th December 2018, 8:08 am
Coach Graham Coughlan.

But they pushed Sunderland all the way, Jack Ross' side having to dig deep and come from behind at the Stadium of Light to triumph 2-1.

Interim Bristol Rovers boss Graham Coughlan was left frustrated with the result but pleased with the work-rate and commitment of his players.

Bristol took the lead in the 11th minute through Alex Rodman but Adam Matthews equalised just before half-time before Josh Maja struck the winner four minutes into the second half.

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The first team coach stepped up to take charge for the trip to the Stadium of Light following Darrell Clarke's departure last week.

Coughlan said: "We lost the game so naturally I am going to be frustrated but I was pleased with the work-rate and commitment, we stuck to the game plan. I gave them individual tasks during the week and they gave it a right go bit it is disappointing to lose the game and the two goals were preventable.

"We have been here before with the bad luck stories, it is all about keeping it out at one end and putting chances away at the other. Coming to Sunderland and getting beat will not determine our campaign and where we finish at the end of the season and our survival or whatever, it is the games coming up that will dictate where we are in the table and our futures.

"Sunderland is a tough place to come but it was right up my street. I loved a battle and I had a number of players who seemed to revel in it, a chip off the old block and I was relatively pleased with several individuals."

Former Hartlepool United midfielder Clarke left the League One strugglers on Thursday after four and a half years in charge.

Coach Coughlan was placed in interim charge while the search for a replacement continues.

Coughlan added: "The last 24 hours has been a whirlwind but I would love to be here next Saturday.

"We have been a bit predictable and on Saturday was just a little bit different and we were a threat but the game got away from us when I had to take Alex out.

"The subs were forced on me and that kind of knocked us out of rhythm. We need to get a healthy fit squad and some kind of structure into them.

"We need a bit of time but who knows whether we have the time or not. I am relatively pleased. We had a game plan but the be all and end all is we lost the game.

"I am here to talk about the game. The last 24 hours and what goes on and the powers that be will decide. I am going to spend the evening with my wife and kids and after that, what will be, will be."