Crewe Alexandra boss delivers verdict on the key factors in Sunderland defeat
Crewe Alexandra boss David Artell rued his side's reaction to the opening goal on Tuesday night as Sunderland climbed back into the top two in League One.
An open contest had yielded opportunities for both sides in the first quarter of the game, but an own goal from Terell Thomas gave Sunderland a foothold.
They added a fine second goal to take a comfortable lead into the half-time interval, a period of play which Artell felt was crucial.
Crewe sit second-bottom of the table but Artell felt his side performed much better than they had done in defeat to Fleetwood Town last weekend.
Both second-half goals for Sunderland came from set plays, the fourth from a home corner as Leon Dajaku scored in a stunning breakaway move.
Artell bemoaned his side's slack defending and said a poor record defending set pieces is causing them significant problems.
“I thought we were good for the first 20, 25 minutes," Artell said.
"Right up until their first goal really, we were slicker and better in possession.
"We closed them down and forced them into mistakes and created some good chances. They had some chances too but we were matching them and then we concede two goals in a short space of time and then didn’t handle the second half of the first half very well.
“We came out second half and we conceded two goals from two corners," he added.
"One from their corner which was a tap in and a killer goal and then one from our own corner when they hit us on the counter attack.
We have conceded five goals from set plays in the last three matches and you cannot do that.
“We have been our own worst enemies and the mistakes have killed us.
"I thought the performance was better than at Fleetwood by a long way and we kept going but you cannot give goals like that to anyone, never mind Sunderland.
"The goals flattened us and one led to another and we have got to get out of that habit. It needs addressing and we will work hard to do that.”