Dan Neil's passionate message to Sunderland fans as Cats prepare for Sheffield Wednesday clash following Rotherham hiding

Dan Neil says Sunderland owe it to their supporters to produce a much better performance at Sheffield Wednesday following a horrible defeat against Rotherham.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 6:00 am

The Black Cats were beaten 5-1 at the New York Stadium as 2,601 away fans made the trip to South Yorkshire.

Rotherham strikers Micheal Smith and Freddie Ladapo both bagged a brace after Aiden McGeady was sent off for the visitors, while Millers defender Michael Ihiekwe also got on the scoresheet.

After a positive week for Neil, which saw the 19-year-old sign a new long-term contract on Wearside, it was a bitter pill to swallow for the homegrown academy talent who spoke honestly after the match.

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"It’s brought us back down to earth,” said Neil, alluding to Tuesday’s Carabao Cup win at QPR.

“We still have a lot to work on and I feel like we need to be more adaptable in games. There are too many games where we are just getting pushed and bullied.

“That is something we all need to take a look at ourselves for and put it right for the next game, which thankfully comes around pretty early and it’s another massive game, one of our games in hand.”

"We need to look at ourselves and make sure we are ready to go on Tuesday.”

Sunderland midfielder Dan Neil.

Similar to their defeats by Portsmouth and Charlton, Sunderland’s lack of physicality and toughness compared to their opponents was evident at Rotherham.

"We had a way of playing and we had to be adaptable on the ball and a bit more aggressive off the ball. Like I said they bullied us,” Neil added.

“It was almost like, someone said it in the changing room, against Gillingham we stood up to that test with ten men and it was almost like that was that box ticked. We have shown we can deal with physical threats.

“We have come back again today and this has happened after such a high on Tuesday so it’s proved that we still need to work on it.

“Coming into these games we need to make sure we do what we did against Gillingham and hopefully get the win like we did there.”

He added: “There were some important truths that were said after the game. I think all the players and the staff respect everything that everyone said.

“Listen we’re a tight group and we will stick together and we’ll all come back.”

Sunderland will once again be backed by a strong following against Sheffield Wednesday, with around 4,000 Black Cats supporters set to be present at Hillsborough.

And after their abject performance at Rotherham, Neil is determined to give them a reaction.

“Just going over to them and seeing them at the end and seeing their faces, it wasn’t nice to see especially as a Sunderland fan,” the midfielder added.

“We are all professional and we have to keep going to the final whistle, it’s just afterwards when you go over and know deep down we all weren’t good enough.

“It’s a horrible one to take but we'll be back.”

“We have to recover and make sure we are fully at it because it’s a massive game on Tuesday and one we need to take full advantage of.

"We have to make sure we do the travelling support proud.”

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