'Devastated' Charlie Wyke urges Sunderland team-mates to bounce back after Wembley defeat to Charlton
Sunderland striker Charlie Wyke has urged his team-mates to bounce back following Sunday’s devastating 2-1 defeat to Charlton in the League One play-off final.
Following a three-month injury layoff earlier in the season, the towering frontman won back his place in Jack Ross’ side at the end of the campaign, starting 11 of the Black Cats’ final 12 games.
Yet Wyke was in no mood to focus on his individual progress after breaking into the team following Sunderland’s last trip to Wembley in March.
Instead the striker is looking ahead to next season, with the Wearsiders targeting a quick response after missing out on promotion.
“Obviously we’re devastated, disappointed, the hardest games are where you get beat in games like this but we’ve got to bounce back,” said a despondent Wyke after the game.
“We’ve just got to forget about it, take the off season to rest, recuperate and go again next season.”
The Black Cats had made a flying start at the national stadium, following a bizarre own goal from Charlton defender Naby Sarr just five minutes in.
With Lee Bowyer’s side keen to play out from the back, Sunderland applied some early pressure on the Addicks’ three-man backline, which has been one of the tightest in League One this term.
That played a part in Sunderland’s opener, when Sarr, with opposition players in close proximity, elected to pass the ball back to Dillon Phillips, the Charlton goalkeeper who shouldered most of the blame after the ball rolled straight past him and into the net.
Yet, following an early injury to Max Power, the Black Cats weren’t able to build on their early advantage, instead retreating towards their own goal before Charlton equalised in the 35th minute.
When asked about Sunderland’s game plan, Wyke said: “We wanted to keep certain players on them but obviously the game plan hasn’t worked.”
The striker was also quizzed about his side’s reaction after taking the lead, which saw Sunderland drop back and lose momentum.
“It’s just one of them things that happens when you take the lead so early in the game,” he added.
“You end up coming a bit further back which wasn’t ideal but it’s just the way it happened.”
Wyke, who joined Sunderland from Bradford last August, missed the first five league games of the season with a knee injury.
Now, though, he’s looking forward to getting a full pre-season under his belt.
“I’ve just got to work hard next season, starting with pre-season and see what the season brings,” he said.