Alex Neil delivers verdict on Dundee United win and what his side can improve in pre-season

Alex Neil was generally pleased with Sunderland’s performance against Dundee United but admitted his side lacked a cutting edge at times.

The Black Cats recorded a 2-0 win at Tannadice Park, courtesy of Trai Hume’s header and an own goal from Charlie Mulgrew.

"I thought we were good,” said Neil after the match. “I thought first half we moved the ball really well.

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“It was quite strange. I thought in the first half we certainly played better and in the second half we scored two goals.

Sunderland boss Alex Neil.

“Certainly in these games it’s about wearing the opposition down. The fact is we are in the middle of pre-season at the moment.

“I thought our patterns in terms of how we wanted to play we did it really well. We probably just lacked a cutting edge in the final third but normally that’s the last bit that comes before the season starts.

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“Overall, really pleased.”

Neil named a strong starting XI at Tannadice Park, as Ross Stewart was recalled to the side after missing Wednesday’s friendly against Roma with a minor injury.

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The striker was substituted after 65 minutes against Dundee United, with Jack Diamond taking his place.

“Yeah no problems,” replied Neil when asked about Stewart. “I certainly wouldn’t have risked him today if there were any issues.

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“Ross wanted to play longer, but we have now done 45 minutes for him, then 60 and we’ll build him up to 90 with the next game that he plays so I think that’s a good progression.”

Neil also stuck with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, which he deployed at the end of last season, but says he could still set his side up differently.

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“Four for me is more natural in terms of how my teams have generally played,” Neil added.

“Going to a back three, I wouldn't say it was forced, but I thought it gave us a better balance with what we had available last season.

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“What it has given me is a bit of food for thought.

“I was actually tempted to go with a 3-5-2 at the end there just to sample it out.

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“There will probably be one game between now and the end of the season where we'll try that out.”