Bristol City comeback must spark Sunderland upturn as Coleman admits key tactical change gives him food for thought

Aiden McGeady scored in the 3-3 draw with Bristol City.
Aiden McGeady scored in the 3-3 draw with Bristol City.
Have your say

Chris Coleman admits the switch to a flat-back four which helped spark the comeback against Bristol City has given him food for thought.

Sunderland started with a back three, with Billy Jones and Bryan Oviedo in the wing-back roles but the Black Cats found themselves 3-0 down at half-time after a shambolic defensive display.

A switch to a flat back four helped give Sunderland a stronger defensive base from which to build a second half comeback, which they achieved in stunning fashion.

Coleman admits it has given him food for thought going forward, with Sunderland still deep in relegation trouble.

Coleman said: "We changed to a back four and pushed Bryan [Oviedo] on a little bit. Then we bought Kaz [Kazenga LuaLua] on but kept the same position but then changed Kaz with [Aiden] McGeady.

"We were trying to ask them different questions.

Sunderland get a goal back at Ashton Gate. Pictures by Frank Reid.

Sunderland get a goal back at Ashton Gate. Pictures by Frank Reid.

"We certainly looked better in a back four today, it has worked well for us three at the back getting us five clean sheets when we didn't have any before.

"We looked better when we changed formation today and asked Bristol questions.

"It gives me food for thought, we will have to call upon more than one formation to get us over the line.

"Same mentality, though, we don't want to change that."

When asked whether this result can spark an upturn in fortunes, Coleman added: "It can and it has to. It is not like we have played 15 games, we know where we are. That has to spark something, that type of fight.

"It is not necessarily the best team that stays up but the team that really needs to do it.

"There are three points between us and the next one to get out the bottom three but 45 points to play for.

"It is who wants it the most, who is not afraid of it, afraid of the challenge - the team that thinks like that will get out of it.

"It felt like a win. Especially for us. There is a manner in which we give goals away, the second 45 minutes is a step forward for us, it is there, when we really want to call on it.

"Bristol City will be there or thereabouts, they will be disappointed. For us to get something, it is a much better day for us than them."

Coleman replaced Oviedo with January signing LuaLua on the hour mark and he made a big impression.

Coleman added: "He linked up well with [Ashley] Fletch and McGeady, I thought Asoro was excellent on the far right and Joel hasn't even made double figures. He is only a kid, he is young.

"We have Kaz coming on, he is a new face, Ovie got tired second half, a problem with a calf, it is about getting it all together at once but we haven't got time.

"It was an unbelievable save, Fletch did everything right and hit the target. It is incredible reaction save.

"Would we come here and take a point before the game? Of course we would."

Coleman also had praise for the impact of Lee Cattermole second half, who led the team on after a disappointing first half showing.

He added: "Lee was tremendous. He really led, got in amongst it. He played with more risks, I thought he was great second half."