It always makes me laugh when a manager comes out and criticizes the opposition for making their team work hard for a win.
There’s more than one way to win a football match and not everybody has the luxury of millions of pounds to throw at a squad, when the eventuality of that means most games will be won due to the quality of the players brought in.
Wolves are obviously a very decent team and were slightly off the boil on Saturday. Sunderland were well organised, resilient and ultimately deserved the point at Molineux.
Well organised and resilient; now there are two words you wouldn’t associate with Sunderland over the last year and a half.
In the four games Chris Coleman has taken charge of we’ve looked far more organized. We’ve had a game plan that, in most cases, has been well executed.
Unfortunately, in the last two games, individuals have let the team down by getting themselves sent off. The way we were set up at Wolves meant it didn’t affect us too much, unlike the Reading game a week earlier.
Still, though, that doesn’t excuse Lee Cattermole.
I think the red, overall, was pretty harsh. The first yellow was very harsh. The second was probably justified but the referee couldn’t wait to get over and gleefully brandish the red card in Cattermole’s direction.
In the second incident, Cattermole’s greatest crime was simply not being the player he was two years ago.
As we’ve seen so often this season he was ponderous, failing the get the ball into his grasp when it looked simpler to do so. His lunge at the player on his blindside was a cardable offence, but it doesn’t happen if he doesn’t lose possession in that moment.
In the first half, the Wolves No 8 put a dreadful challenge in on Donald Love. A definite yellow card, but I don’t even think he got a word in the ear from the referee.
I know we’re supposed to be all about the respect campaign now but let’s be honest, nobody on the pitch truly is. I want to see Sunderland be more streetwise.
I’d have like to have seen Cattermole, or a few senior players, in the ear of the referee after that challenge on Love – “If that was me, it’s a booking.” Make the referee think about getting that first yellow out of his pocket, which was so costly to Cattermole in the end.
Then there’s the Wolves team jackknifing through the air under any slight touch. Why don’t we make more of contact when backing in? Play the game. If you don’t you can guarantee the opposition will be.
It’s early days but it looks as though Chris Coleman is having a positive influence on the way we set up and approach games. We must keep it going at home to Fulham. Even if we can’t win the game, just don’t lose it.
Build the momentum and rebuild that fragile confidence.