Six things learned from Cardiff City humiliation - Relegation to League One an ever increasing possibility for Sunderland

Sunderland were humiliated at the Cardiff City Stadium, thrashed 4-0 by Neil Warnock's Cardiff side.

Sunday, 14th January 2018, 2:29 pm
Updated Sunday, 14th January 2018, 2:30 pm
Tyias Browning clears the danger.

Here's what we learned from the lunchtime humiliation in front of the Sky cameras.

Toothless, abject Sunderland League One-bound.

Sunderland boss Chris Coleman.

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The harsh reality of the situation facing Sunderland AFC football club hit this weekend, this team is heading down unless Chris Coleman and Martin Bain can pull at least four rabbits out the hat before the end of January.

The team, decimated by injuries, isn't good enough with too many younger players, not enough experience or nous and a soft underbelly running through the side.

Unable to keep clean sheets consistently and unable to put the ball in the back of the net up the other end. Sunderland have only won four league games all season. A recipe for disaster.

Didier Ndong red harsh but his overall display was poor.

Robbin Ruiter attempts to punch the ball clear. Pictures by Frank Reid.

Watford want the Gabon international midfielder on loan for the rest of the season. After this performance they may be reevaluating.

Ndong did little to impress watching suitors. Returning from an ankle injury, he did little to impose himself.

The red was harsh, he went for the ball but his boot slipped onto the shin of Junior Hoilett. It looked worse than it was but his studs were showing and as Coleman said, he gave referee Andrew Madley a decision to make.

He will now serve a three-match ban unless the appeal is successful. Will we ever see him in a Sunderland shirt again?

Sunderland boss Chris Coleman.

Sunderland need an attacking emphasis

Coleman is stuck in between a rock and a hard place at the moment with injuries and limited options up front forcing his hand.

Sunderland are goalshy, they have only scored once in their last five league and cup games.

Again Sunderland didn't have a single shot on target. They had three attempts in total but none of those were troubling the Cardiff goal.

Robbin Ruiter attempts to punch the ball clear. Pictures by Frank Reid.

Somehow, Coleman needs to find a system that gets the best out of the current players and provides more attacking threat. Hull City at home on Saturday is a must-win game.

Chelsea loanee looks assured but will be fully aware of the challenge ahead.

Coleman handed a Sunderland debut to Chelsea loanee Jake Clarke-Salter and he slotted straight in as the left-sided defender in the back three. Marc Wilson pushed into midfield.

Clarke-Salter looked assured and comfortable on the ball but he wouldn't have been happy with his role in Cardiff's second goal.

The hosts broke from a Sunderland free-kick and Clarke-Salter was out-muscled by Cardiff's Kenneth Zohore on Sunderland's right, the striker setting up Joe Ralls for the second.

It was game over at that point. Overall, the loanee showed some promise, a ball-playing defender, he also has a good leap and showed good awareness and anticipation.

Goalkeeping issue continues to be a huge problem.

Robbin Ruiter was recalled with Jason Steele on the bench. Ruiter enjoyed a promising first half with some solid saves as Sunderland went in level.

Within 45 seconds of the restart all that hard work had been undone. Ruiter came to punch and missed, Callum Paterson, who had beaten Billy Jones all ends up, with a simple header.

It was rank bad defending all round and got worse as the half progressed, with the defence all at sea.

A key problem is Sunderland's inability to adequately replace Jordan Pickford and Vito Mannone last summer continues to haunt.

Darron Gibson proving a huge loss in the middle.

The midfielder endured a difficult start to his Sunderland career but turned it round under Chris Coleman only to be struck down with a groin injury.

Surgery means he will be out for up to three months and he is proving a huge loss. Sunderland don't have anyone else currently fit that is able to spread the ball around like he does from the holding midfield role.

The defence currently has very little protection and this defence needs protection.