Phil Parkinson explains decision to bring Laurens De Bock on for Tom Flanagan after Sunderland fans slam tactics

Phil Parkinson, under increasing fire from angry and frustrated Sunderland supporters, has defended his tactics in the goalless draw with Bolton Wanderers.

Friday, 27th December 2019, 3:12 pm

Sunderland dropped more points at home, extending the club’s winless run to nine games in all competitions.

Parkinson again opted for a wing-back system with three centre-backs, and he was on the end of criticism from supporters who wanted to see a more attacking system and brand of football at home.

There were also whistles when Tom Flanagan went off injured in the second half with a suspected hamstring injury only to be replaced by Laurens De Bock.

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Tom Flanagan.

Parkinson opting to keep faith with the same back five rather than change to a more attack-minded system.

When quizzed on why he replaced Flanagan with another defender and if he considered switching formation, Parkinson said: “We had worked on the system, Bocky has played there and I thought he stepped in and produced some moments of real quality with his left foot.

“It is always a tough call. We had in our mind to make a couple more changes attacking wise, then Flanno went down and we just decided to keep the same shape.

“It had got us into a lot of very good positions.

“I am not sure it was the shape of the team that cost us, it was that moment of real quality in and around the opposition box.”

Sunderland had a goal ruled out for a foul on Bolton keeper Remi Matthews in the first half, Flanagan adjudged to have fouled the keeper when heading home.

Parkinson added: “I was disappointed that we didn’t get all three points - I felt we had enough dominance to come away with all three.

“Obviously, the disallowed goal is the big talking point.

“I knew at the time it was a goal - I’m not sure what the referee has seen.

“I think if we had got one [goal] we would have gone on to win the game comfortably.

“We had enough possession, got into decent areas, got enough crosses into the box, but just couldn’t find that moment to settle everybody down. Everybody knows that dominance in games has to result in goals.”