Sam Allardyce: WBA, Newcastle and Southampton more frustrating than Leicester loss
There has been a broken record element to Sam Allardyce's reflections during a frustrating run which has seen Sunderland win just one of their last 11 outings.
Time and again, Sunderland have had opportunities to put points on the board, yet squandered them and been left to stew on ‘what might have been’ at the conclusion of either a draw or defeat.
Sunderland matched league leaders Leicester City for an hour at the Stadium of Light yesterday and even though they completely lost their composure and shape after Jamie Vardy’s opener, still had the chance to earn a share of the spoils when Jack Rodwell was presented with a glorious chance for an equaliser.
But the third bottom Black Cats continue to rebuff the chance to improve their plight in the relegation battle and are fast running out of time to preserve their Premier League status.
Allardyce insists previous results left him more frustrated than the 2-0 defeat to Leicester, even though he acknowledges that Sunderland’s bad habits show no sign of ending.
“My disappointment is not so much against the side top of the league who have only lost three all season, my disappointment is the points thrown away against West Brom, the points thrown away against Newcastle, and the points thrown away against Southampton,” he said.
“That is the big problem we are now suffering from, when we have been in great positions to take points.
“A draw would have been a fantastic result, particularly after we had gone 1-0 down, so we really needed Jack Rodwell to score that goal and then come away with a 1-1 because that would have been a point gained then, coming from behind.
“The disappointment last week was having 24 shots at goal and not scoring against West Brom, and before that having enough chances to have scored more than one goal at Newcastle and then to concede an equaliser in the last 10 minutes, and at Southampton to be 1-0 up against 10 men and then concede in the 93rd minute.
“That’s our problem to resolve, and we have to resolve it very, very quickly now.”
Allardyce felt Sunderland’s standards slipped against the Foxes, even if their work-rate and industry were a match for the Premier League’s fairy-tale story of the season.
But Sunderland’s lapse in concentration to allow Jamie Vardy to net his first goal in seven games proved fatal, with the England international moving Leicester a step closer to the title in stoppage time.
“Whether it was a little bit of nerves, or Leicester’s good tactics, we weren’t quite as good as we have been recently,” added Allardyce.
“But we were matching the opposition, who are top of the league.
“Against teams that are top of the league, focus is always very important and we have allowed ourselves one slip.
“Everybody knows that Leicester play lots of balls over the top of your defence to try to get Vardy in, but we slipped up once and let him in and he scored.
“That was disappointing - I would have preferred them to score any other way rather than like that.
“That’s his main threat and we’d coped with it alright up to then, but it doesn’t mean anything if you let him in once and he scores,
“Vardy and (Riyad) Mahrex are two of the top goalscorers in this league, and you can’t afford to give them chances like that.
“Then the turning point was Jack Rodwell’s miss.
“That’s becoming one of our problems now – converting chances.”