Chris Coleman struggling to find right blend for Sunderland as he ponders Stadium of Light woe

Coleman admits teams in the Championship have a 'better blend' than his Sunderland side
Coleman admits teams in the Championship have a 'better blend' than his Sunderland side
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Chris Coleman admits he is struggling to find the right blend to win Championship matches.

Sunderland were comprehensively outplayed by Brentford on Saturday in yet another home defeat, with Coleman admitting that he is lacking a balance to his side.

The Black Cats are invariably fielding teams made up of a cohort of very inexperienced players alongside some entering the latter stages of their career.

Coleman admits it is an issue but remains upbeat about his team's chances of beating the drop.

He said: "We are either very young or very old, yes. That's what we've got.

"On the back of the transfer window where we needed to strengthen, we didn't have any money to do that, so we had to try and change the faces.

"I look at some teams and the blend they have is a lot healthier than what we have got.

"But our younger boys are going to get the experience and they are going to be better for it, and the older ones who have already got the experience can help the younger ones.

"When you look at a lot of teams in the Championship, they have a lot of experience, they are well-organised, finely-tuned, without – with all due respect – being anything special.

"With us, we lack a bit of experience, a bit of physicality, and that makes it look like we are not organised, and we are losing games.

"That all leads to more problems.

"The only way that changes is by winning games.

"When you are losing, cracks become chasms.

"When you are winning, however, it covers up a lot of sins, a lot of problems.

"Bolton is another opportunity.

"We missed one on Saturday again, and that was a big opportunity because Hull were playing in the cup.

"Even after tomorrow, there are still more games and more points to play for but I can't keep on saying that."

Coleman admits his side may be better suited to playing away from home after questioning on Saturday whether some of his players were up to the challenge of playing at the Stadium of Light.

He said: "Probably, if I'm honest.

"At home it's a struggle for us.

"Our supporters are frustrated not just with one season and where we are in the Championship, it has been two or three years in the making.

"But they will quickly forget that negativity if we perform.

"There's no hiding place. I can't say I don't understand it because we played well for 90 minutes, because we didn't.

"Maybe our supporters think I am just trying to gloss over it, but I do get it.

"We are not going to get everybody behind us if we don't perform.

"I get their frustration. Why wouldn't they be frustrated and angry with the state of things at the moment?

"They come to watch us week-in, week-out, and they are all we have got to hang on to.

"It only takes a performance to turn it round, one performance, from a negative to a positive.

"I hold onto that, and that's what I tell the players – to be as positive as they can.

"In our situation, everybody can be forgiven for being down, and downtrodden, feeling beaten, pessimistic, because if you look at the history of the last three years or more, we are poor at home and we don't show any sort of consistency," he added.

"It's another defeat and everybody washes their hands of it, so I understand.

"I was pretty down on Saturday after the game but we have another one tomorrow night and things can change really quickly – for good or bad, and you have to decide which one you want, because nobody does it for you.

"I'm optimistic because I have to be, and there are still a hell of a lot of points to play for, a lot of opportunities.

"We've missed a lot of points and we've missed a lot of opportunities. We keep performing for half a game, and we've done that for the last four games.

"That annoys me.

"Tomorrow night is another chance for us to put that right.

"It's a game of football, it's 90 minutes, and it's about getting it right.

"If we can do that, generate a performance and a result, that can change things in a positive way for us.

"We were bitterly disappointed by the game on Saturday, everybody was down and depressed and hurting, but the only people that can change that is us."

Coleman insists he has no problems with his squad of players individually but says they must front up to the challenge, particularly when playing at home.

He said: "Like it or not, we can't get away from that.

"There's no hiding from it, especially at home where you can visibly see it – with certain individuals, anyway.

"I struggle with it.

"If we had a bad group, that's one thing, but they are not – there are a good set of lads, they are just very nervous at home.

"Four games ago we weren't nervous against Hull. We played very well and the atmosphere was great, but we created that – nobody does it for you – we generated that atmosphere with our performance, and got the result.

"It has to be from the first minute to the last.

"There's no other way. I don't know any other way to do it."