EFL pundit says Sunderland were poor in midfield as Rotherham striker earns praise

EFL pundit Sam Parkin says Sunderland failed to stand up to Rotherham’s physicality as the Black Cats were thrashed 5-1 at the New York Stadium.

Sunday, 31st October 2021, 9:00 am

Rotherham’s front two Michael Smith and Freddie Ladapo were a real handful throughout the contest and both bagged a brace during a dominant display.

Millers defender Michael Ihiekwe also got on the scoresheet, while Aiden McGeady was sent off for Sunderland when his side were 3-1 down.

When discussing the match on the EFL’s highlights show on Quest, Parkin predictably praised goalscorers Smith and Ladapo, while also pointing out that Sunderland were overrun in midfield.

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Black Cats duo Luke O’Nien and Dan Neil struggled to get to grips with Rotherham trio Dan Barlaser, Oliver Rathbone and Ben Wiles in the engine room, as the hosts made it nine league games unbeaten and moved up to fourth in League One.

“The Sunderland support will be really disappointed because of the overall outcome, but that was a top quality Rotherham performance I felt,” said Parkin.

“It was powerful, another set-piece goal from Ihiekwe, that’s the 11th they have scored.

“But it was an old fashioned doing I would say from their two centre-forwards against the two centre-halves.

Rotherham and Sunderland players go for the ball.

“You have to stand up to Smith and Ladapo and the Sunderland centre-halves didn’t do that.

“I thought they were poor in the middle of the pitch as well, Neil and O’Nien.

“Ladapo, it was as good as I’ve seen him probably, certainly his first-half performance to complement what Michael Smith always brings.”

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