Jack Baldwin opens up on frustration with his Sunderland performances & the key areas he wants to improve
So far Sunderland have bounced back from just about every setback this season and it is one of the reasons Jack Ross is eager to keep his squad together next month.
He has a group who he feels are united, willing to learn and take accountability for their performances.
So it was after a frustrating draw against Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.
Jack Baldwin’s performances have, by his own admission, dipped since the promising early days of his Black Cats career.
That visibly hangs heavy on a reflective player, who has targeted some key areas when he needs to improve.
“We all know the first half was far, far from good enough,” Baldwin said.
“The second half was better but we didn’t quite have that cutting edge in front of goal.
“It was a sloppy goal to concede. I’m personally very frustrated with myself after Saturday.
“We’ve come from behind again and shown character, and I thought we deserved a couple of goals in the second half.
“Teams are always going to come here and try and be as hard to beat as they possibly can, try and frustrate that. We’ve got to recognise that. We’re going to get a lot of the ball at times, us boys at the back, we’ve got to try and not, personally I get too frustrated when nothing is opening up. I find it hard to go side to side, I try to make something happen.
“I’ve got to get better at that, maybe as a team we need to get better [at that] and find other ways around it,” he added.
“We’ve got a squad of players, if you get them the ball they’ll make things happen.
“Personally, I find it harder when I’ve got more time on the ball because the decision making has to be spot on.
“Under pressure the first decision is the right one.
“When you’ve more time it’s harder. I’ll sit down with Potts and James Fowler to reflect on this game and more generally to see where I can get better.”
“After any game that stand out and it’s always the bad points for me,” Baldwin added.
“ A missed clearance, a poor challenge or a shot on an open goal at the end!
“You’ve got to find a balance but I will be critical of myself because I want to be the best I can be for myself and for this club.
“So if you don’t turn out a great performance for this club then it’s frustrating.”
The bigger picture for Baldwin is that he is a regular in a team pushing for promotion.
He has so far avoided the injuries that so curtailed his progress in the early years of his career and there is a chance to bounce back in front of nearly 8,000 travelling fans in a couple of days time.
It’s that kind of support Baldwin is so eager to perform for.
“Personally I’ve never really had a full season, I’ve always been a bit hampered by injuries that keep you out for two weeks here or there,” he said.
“This season, touch wood, it’s not happened and I feel like I’ve still got a lot of games left in my legs.
“In the bigger picture, looking to get that promotion, we’re still on that two points a game.
“We’ve got to dust ourselves down because we’re back to business in a few days.
“It’s going to be a massive game and we’ll have a huge following again.
“It’s credit to the club and fans and hopefully we’ll put on a good display.”