Six HUGE Sunderland concerns that has led to pressure ramping up on under-fire Jack Ross
Pressure is mounting.
The mood on Wearside was as bleak as the weather this weekend following Sunderland’s lifeless, limp, shambolic defeat at Lincoln City.
It’s easy to say Sunderland should be beating sides like Lincoln but that would be doing a disservice to an impressive Imps outfit, who completely outplayed the Black Cats.
Fan anger is aimed at under-fire Ross, here we examine six huge concerns following the 2-0 loss at Sincil Bank.
Starting at the back: Jon McLaughlin
It’s fair to say his performances have not been to the standard of last season and the first goal was comical.
At first it looked as though Tyler Walker had brilliantly snuck in ahead of the Scotland international but replays showed it was an own goal, McLaughlin scooping the ball in.
He appealed for a foul. Ross confirmed afterwards there was no foul. The manager was pressed on McLaughlin’s display but he refused to add anything further in a short and tense press conference.
Chronic lack of effort, workrate, physicality, allowed Lincoln to settle
Sunderland didn’t lay a glove on Lincoln because they didn’t do the basics right; a distinct lack of effort, desire, endeavour, hard work.
Ross named the same side that beat MK Dons 2-1 but the performance first half couldn’t have been any different than the one that saw the Dons dominated.
No excuses for Sunderland’s display at a bouncing Sincil Bank.
De Bock can't complete 90 minutes
Still building his fitness, the left-back had a difficult second league game for Sunderland, conceding a penalty - which hit the post - with Lincoln clearly targeting that flank as the left-back tired.
With Denver Hume watching from the stands rather than the bench, Ross had to move Luke O’Nien back when De Bock did depart.
Lack of discipline
Five yellow cards with Aiden McGeady now one more booking away from a one-game ban. Max Power too walking a disciplinary tightrope.
Sunderland’s lack of discipline has been a growing concern. It was borne out of frustration at Lincoln.
Gooch and Maguire not firing
Lincoln were impressive in the final third, a pacy attack, creative, causing the Sunderland defence constant problems, especially on the counter.
Sunderland on the other hand, were lacking in all departments up front. De Bock’s brilliant effort aside, a stunning save from Josh Vickers. Time and again balls were lumped forward to Charlie Wyke, Maguire and Gooch both ineffective and eventually subbed after just 54 minutes.
Goal and shot-shy forwards
Wyke, with one league goal to his name, led the attack. Will Grigg, zero league goals, coming on as sub.
Sunderland’s lack of goals from their two main strikers is a huge concern for under-pressure Ross, with the Black Cats so far unable to string together that much-needed winning run.
Marc McNulty’s return from injury was a welcome one but he was pushed out wide when he came on.