Elliott Dickman reveals the big improvement Sunderland U23s must make as they eye a first league win

Elliott Dickman has urged his Sunderland under-23 side to cut-out the ‘preventable’ goals they are conceding – as they seek a first win in Premier League 2

Monday, 17th February 2020, 2:03 pm

The young Black Cats sit rock bottom of the second tier of Premier League 2 having picked up a solitary point this term, but have shown some signs of progression in recent weeks.

And Dickman believes that two key areas – specifically ensuring they start games strongly and defend set pieces effectively – need to be addressed.

“The big thing for me is that they’ve got to start understanding and knowing the game better,” he said.

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Sunderland coach Elliott Dickman

“They’ve been in the building long enough and we’re conceding too many early goals. The only tonight was really, really soft and then we’ve conceded from a set play again.

“They are preventable goals and certainly in the early parts of the game and from set pieces, we need to do better.”

While unhappy with the manner in which his side conceded at St James’s Park, Dickman was keen to highlight some positive elements of the display – particularly after Sunderland conceded early.

“We’ve crumbled in the past, so you could argue they maybe have learnt from that,” he added.

“We’re standing here, we’ve lost again, but I’m delighted with the players. I’m not happy with the scoreline, we don’t want to lose to anyone and especially Newcastle, but I thought the performance was really, really positive.

‘I think the lads can hold their heads high with how they’ve played.”