Analysis: Sunderland made the post-Mourinho bounce far too easy for Chelsea

Jack Rodwell
Jack Rodwell
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Sunderland fans know the textbook by heart over how to welcome a new manager to the dug-out.

It's rarely accompanied by a sorrowful lament to the chap whose just been given the bullet...

Jose Mourinho's untimely departure made for a bizarre atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge yesterday; boos for protagonists Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, banners proclaiming adoration for the Portugese, and his name chanted after all three of Chelsea's goals.

It was difficult not to be caught up in the circus stemming from Mourinho's exit and the unrecognisable response from previously lethargic players who had offered so little for their manager until Sunderland arrived in town.

But the unique environment only made Sunderland's feeble resistance all the more infuriating.

Sam Allardyce's pre-match team talk would have boasted the inevitable message about frustrating the hosts early on and allowing that discontent with Fabregas and Costa to boil over - as it largely did when both were taken off in the second half.

Instead, Sunderland produced a first half display which was arguably as bad as anything served up this season, let alone under Allardyce.

Chelsea strolled into a two-goal lead at a canter - Oscar's waltz through the Sunderland defence at walking pace, before Costel Pantilimon came to the rescue, summing up how comfortable it was for the hosts.

Even had Mourinho been in charge and Chelsea been as vulnerable as they have been so frequently this season, you sensed they would have been equally able to coast through to a half-time lead.

Sunderland were defensively fragile - with Sebastian Coates culpable for the first two goals and still showing the after-effects of illness - and dreadful in their ball retention.

It was no surprise that Coates was hooked, as Allardyce made a substitution after 20-odd minutes for the second game on the spin.

Most troublesome was the utter absence of any hint of a midfield platform. Ola Toivonen, and to a lesser degree Jack Rodwell, were simply chasing shadows.

A second successive ominous performance from Toivonen may well prove to be a turning point in Allardyce's opinion on the Swede, albeit Rodwell will miss Boxing Day's trip to Manchester City through suspension.

Sunderland didn't even awake from their stupor after a half-time rocket. It was Borini's 53rd minute goal which finally sounded the alarm clock.

Had Sunderland began the game in that fashion - with Borini and Jermain Defoe both spurning presentable late opportunities - then they might have had a chance.

But it's no use suddenly deciding to play when 3-1 down.

That statement has applied a few times to Sunderland over recent seasons though