Gary Rowell: Best team and system must be found quickly as slow starts killing Sunderland

Two points from six isn’t anywhere near a good enough start to Sunderland’s new campaign but while I was hugely disappointed with the Oxford result a draw away to a promotion rivals like Ipswich isn’t nearly as bad, although the performance was.

Sunderland go behind away to Ipswich Town, Lynden Gooch later rescued a point.
Sunderland go behind away to Ipswich Town, Lynden Gooch later rescued a point.

If Sunderland had got the job done in their first game then a draw away at Portman Road would have been seen as a perfectly acceptable start to the season with a healthy points return.

The problem is Sunderland didn’t get the job done in their opening game so yet another 1-1 scoreline just frustrates the fans and stretches their patience to the limit.

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It is not as if Sunderland have been unlucky with refereeing decisions, or are playing well without getting the breaks, that has not been the case.

The first half against Ipswich was as bad as anything in the Jack Ross era and I wasn’t surprised the manager said there had been a frank discussion at half-time and in my experience that is usually code for an almighty bust-up.

Whatever it was, it worked to a degree, Sunderland did improve in the second half with Lynden Gooch scoring again to salvage a point.

In both games this season, Sunderland have conceded first and started slowly, so getting to the bottom of why this keeps happening has to be a priority.

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The players’ confidence and belief for some reason looks low, when at the start of a new campaign, they should be flying, sticking their chests out, proud to be wearing the shirt of the biggest club in this division and swarming all over the opposition.

I still believe this squad of players, especially with a couple of additions, should be capable of promotion but they must believe in themselves and the best team and system must be found because it doesn’t look like we have that right now.