Max Power gives an honest assessment of Sunderland's 'unrecognisable' second-half showing and has this message
Max Power admits Sunderland fell well short of their recent standards in a poor second-half showing at Fratton Park, but urged his team-mates to start a new unbeaten run when Ipswich visit the Stadium of Light this weekend.
Two set pieces goals brought Sunderland’s nine-game unbeaten run to an abrupt end, with Portsmouth leapfrogging the Black Cats and climbing into the play-off positions.
The Black Cats had started the game well but struggled to create any chances or pressure in a poor second-half showing.
Power admits they were ‘almost unrecognisable’ from recent showings.
“I think the second half was probably a bit unrecognisable from what we've been like lately,” he said.
“The timing of the goal in the second half, we didn't recover from it.
“I thought Portsmouth came out really strong in that second half and mauve, the amount of games and travelling, I'm not going to make any excuses but maybe it caught up with us a bit.
“We didn't win any second balls in that second half but to be fair, goal aside I thought we were top drawer in the first half.
“Ultimately we've lost the game on two set pieces and that's not like us, recently we've been strong and our defensive record has been really good,” he added.
“Today we've got to hold our hands up, and maybe we gave away some needless fouls and they've got lads with great delivery and lads who attack the ball well, so maybe there was a bit of naivety on our part.
“It's disappointing but there's plenty of games to go and with no midweek game, it's a good chance to rest up ahead of a huge game next weekend.”
Manager Phil Parkinson says he is relishing the chance to work with his January signings on the training ground this week, with Bristol City loanee Antoine Semenyo making a brief cameo towards the end of the defeat.
Ipswich’s visit is the latest in a crucial run of fixtures, andPower said there was ‘no hiding’ from the fact that this would be a crucial period.
“We won't get too down,” he said.
“It's not ideal to lose to a rival but we've got to bounce back quickly.
“There's no hiding from it, we know it's a big month.
“We're coming into the business end of the season, once you get out of January you know this is your squad, this is what you're going with.
“We win together and we lose together, I'm at an age now where you realise you can't too high after wins and too low after defeats.
“We're all disappointed, it would have been a great day to come and get a result but it wasn't to be.
“We'll take it on the chin, analyse where we've gone wrong and put it behind us. We've set our standards really high of late, the second half wasn't at that, so the unbeaten run has come to an end and we need to start another one.”