Explained: Why Sunderland's penalty shootout success was no fluke

Though Sunderland benefited from what QPR boss Mark Warburton described as two 'inexplicable' failures to hit the target from his own players, Lee Johnson says his side's penalty success was no fluke.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th October 2021, 1:52 pm

Ilias Chair and Yoann Barbet's erratic efforts sent the Black Cats on their way to a 3-1 penalty win, but they had been given a major boost when Lee Burge made an excellent stop from Charlie Austin in the opening exchange of the shootout.

Johnson praised Burge's excellent record from the spot, with the goalkeeper memorably saving two in one game during a win over Doncaster Rovers at the Stadium of Light last season.

And the head coach's decision to introduce Aiden McGeady and Alex Pritchard during the closing stages of the game also paid dividends, with both taking excellent penalties alongside Ross Stewart to secure the quarter-final spot.

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Lee Burge saves Charlie Austin's penalty

"You always fancy Burgey," Johnson said.

"How many times since I've been here has he made good penalty stops?

"He's got that presence and we do a lot of research before hand.

"He's a very, very good shotstopper because he's a good goalkeeper. It's important that we gave him the focus for the game by telling him [he was playing] ten days ago because it allowed him to really hone in on it.

"He was excellent, along with the back four in front of him.

"We've been good in penalty shootouts and it is something that we really consider as well.

"It's not just back of a cigarette packet stuff, McGeady, Pritchard, Benson & Hedges taking our pens! We were composed, calm, and as I've said, we always fancy Burgey in that situation."

Speaking after the game Burge praised goalkeeping coach David Preece and team-mate Thorben Hoffmann for their work in preparing for the possibility of a shootout.

"Obviously a lot of research goes into it," Burge said.

“Preecey and Thorben have been going through it a lot over the last few days.

“We have been going through them and it’s credit to them and the work that they do as well as what we do.

“We just have to keep doing those things all the time and if you keep learning it’s obviously going to pay off.”

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