JORDAN Henderson today called on Sunderland to become more “streetwise” after losing from a winning position for the third successive game.
The Black Cats suffered three defeats on the spin for the first time this season against Spurs on Saturday, as they fluffed the opportunity to move back into the top six.
Sunderland took early leads in each of the encounters against Chelsea, Stoke and Spurs, yet have been undone by defensive errors in all three, with Craig Gordon’s goal breached nine times.
Five of the nine conceded have stemmed from set pieces, with Michael Dawson’s equaliser for Spurs a minute before the interval swinging the tide back in Tottenham’s favour.
Black Cats midfielder Henderson said: “In the last couple of weeks we’ve been playing well, but we’ve not been streetwise enough.
“We’ve just got to stop conceding stupid goals.
“If we’d have come in at half-time 1-0 up, it might have been a different story.
“We’ve got to stop conceding off set plays and then, hopefully, we can get back to winning ways.
“But conceding right on half-time probably killed us. I still don’t think we deserved to get beat, though.”
Henderson praised Sunderland’s slick approach play in the first half, which was rewarded when Asamoah Gyan swept home his 10th of the season after a classy shot on the turn.
But keeper Gordon couldn’t keep out Dawson’s header after his vision was impaired by William Gallas, before Spurs grabbed the winner when Niko Kranjcar rocketed home a volley from the D.
Sunderland laboured to get back into the game and never looked as dangerous a proposition as they had during the opening 45 minutes.
“In the first half, I thought we played very well, but the second half was a bit scrappier,” said Henderson.
“Overall we did well and we’ve got to take positives out of the game. We’ve got to look forward.
“We started the game really well and carried it on. There was some good approach play and some good chances.”
The 20-year-old added: “It was a great finish from Asa – good ball from Kieran (Richardson) and a good touch from Asa.
“He’s doing really well for us in that role. He’s working really hard and we’ve got the players to support him.
“I think Gallas ran across Craig’s vision so he couldn’t really see.
“It was a great finish from Kranjcar for the winner.
“They’ve got some great players in their team and they showed that with his finish.”