Ellis Short, Didier Ndong and missed chances - six things we learned from Sunderland's bore draw with Burnley

Sunderland's relegation woes deepen with every passing week, with the Black Cats now seven points adrift of safety going into the final 10 games of the season.

Sunday, 19th March 2017, 10:43 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:08 am
Owner Ellis Short watches the action

It will take a monumental effort to turn this season around with Sunderland having to transform themselves into one of the form teams in Europe to achieve it.

Victory over Burnley was a must, instead Sunderland squandered several good openings second half and had to settle for a point - with Jordan Pickford keeping them in it late on.

Jermain Defoe in action

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Here's what we learned from the bore draw at the Stadium of Light.

Ellis Short makes a rare appearance.

With mounting pressure as Sunderland struggle at the bottom of the Premier League, it was inevitable that owner Short's appearance would spark a lot of interest.

His appearances at the Stadium of Light have been rare this season, with his last visit coming back in August.

Fabio Borini sees an effort saved

David Moyes played down his trip post-match, insisting Short is entitled to come and watch the team he owns and said their relationship is fine.

Don't read too much into the visit, the Echo understands Moyes continues to enjoy the support of Short and chief executive Martin Bain despite the club's struggles in the Premier League.

Didier Ndong gamble.

With Lamine Kone out with a twisted knee, there was another notable absentee from the team sheet - midfielder Dider Ndong.

Jermain Defoe in action

Moyes decided to drop the club record signing to the bench, instead favouring Jack Rodwell and Darron Gibson in the centre of midfield.

The first half was dire, with Sunderland lacking energy and it appeared the gamble may backfire given Ndong had impressed against Manchester City last time out.

He did come on second half adding some fresh legs but also giving away two needless free-kicks and inviting pressure.

Passing dismal again.

Fabio Borini sees an effort saved

Sunderland's passing radar was once again off against Burnley. Time after time they looked to have carved out a good opening only for a poor final ball to let them down.

Jermain Defoe became increasingly frustrated as the game wore on.

One example was sub Wahbi Khazri's through ball to the England striker had too much on it. A glorious opening wasted.

The midfield has been a problem all season with the inability to pick out a teammate an increasing concern.

13th time unlucky for Sunderland.

Jermain Defoe didn't have a clear opening all game, the best chances instead falling to Adnan Januzaj, Fabio Borini, Seb Larsson and Billy Jones.

Fans are still wondering how the right-back managed to misdirect his header so badly from six-yards out.

The same problem continues to haunt Sunderland, if Defoe doesn't score then neither do Sunderland.

Sunderland failed to score in a Premier League game for the 13th time this season - no side has failed to find the net more often.

Opening 45 minutes lacked any spark.

The first half was dire on Saturday. If you didn't know better then you wouldn't have guessed Sunderland were in a relegation dogfight.

It was flat. The Stadium of Light was nervy on and off the pitch. The second half showing was much-improved and Sunderland created enough chances to win the game.

The fed-up fans stuck with the team but let them know their feelings at full-time, with loud boos ringing out. Another frustrating Saturday afternoon, another chance for three points missed.

Last thing Sunderland need is another fortnight's break.

The upcoming international fixtures mean Sunderland are not in action again until April 1 when they travel to Watford.

Sunderland have been unable to find any rhythm and the constant stop-start is not helping. Fans live in hope that the busy run of fixtures in April will spark a run of form.

Moyes is hoping to have Victor Anichebe back, with Lee Cattermole to follow later in the month but the hopes of staying up cannot be pinned on those two players.