Six things: Blame lies at Ellis Short's door as Sunderland face nine-game survival scrap after QPR loss

Sunderland have just nine games to avoid relegation to League One following their latest defeat, going down 1-0 at QPR.

Sunday, 11th March 2018, 1:29 pm
Updated Sunday, 11th March 2018, 1:35 pm
Chris Coleman barks out the orders at Loftus Road. Pictures by Frank Reid.

Here's what we learned from the defeat at Loftus Road.

Nine games to save themselves.

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Cats, they say, have nine lives. Sunderland, without a win in nine Championship games, now have just nine games to maintain their status in the second tier.

How did it come to this? With just five wins all season, the chances of the Black Cats winning more than half of the games remaining, which is what it will take, are remote to say the least.

The week just gone was a pivotal one yet Sunderland picked up just one point from nine. It will be curtains if they don’t beat Preston.

Blame lies with Ellis Short.

Lee Camp in goal for Sunderland after Jason Steele's red card.

Ellis Short’s failure to provide finance to allow Chris Coleman to adequately strengthen in goal and attack in January was always going to lead to the club’s downfall.

Sunderland’s shambolic season between the sticks continues to plumb new depths with every passing week.

Five times goalkeepers have been dropped this season and Coleman will be forced into another change following Jason Steele’s howler at QPR. Problems in attack continue too.

Will we ever see Kazenga LuaLua in a Sunderland shirt again?

Lee Camp in goal for Sunderland after Jason Steele's red card.

Ongoing concerns over an ankle problem kept him out at Loftus Road. The ex-Brighton forward is yet to start a game for Sunderland.

Usually deployed out wide, Coleman wants to use him through the middle when fit.

Sunderland could do with an attacking outlet that provides pace, power and strength. And someone willing to at least have a shot.

Fletcher, if Coleman persists with him, could do with some help too.

Ashley Fletcher’s Sunderland struggles continue.

The Middlesbrough loanee is yet to score since arriving on loan in January and while he will rightly point to the horrendous service coming his way, Fletcher is struggling badly.

He was ironically jeered off by the away support at Loftus Road. Fletcher not suited to the lone striker role.

He could do with a spell out the side but Sunderland have few other options with only Josh Maja as the alternative.

Sunderland’s superb away support deserves better.

Twice in eight days Sunderland had games in London and they were once again backed by a strong following.

A total of 1,579 fans watched the action unfold at Loftus Road. Sunderland’s support has been rewarded with just five league wins all season.

A dismal, dire, staggering, pathetic, unacceptable record.

Sunderland’s support deserves so much better than the dross they have been served up in recent seasons.

Coleman under fire for Asoro sub.

Chris Coleman faced criticism for taking off Joel Asoro - one of Sunderland’s brightest players - following Jason Steele’s red.

It drew anger from the away end.

Coleman was right to be cautious with Asoro, who has been suffering a knock this past week, and admitted he would have come off after an hour anyway.

But Steele was red carded in the 49th minute. We’ll never know but another 11 minutes from Asoro could have made all the difference.