Michael Beale gives verdict on what went wrong in Sunderland's second-half collapse against Birmingham City

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Sunderland fell to another defeat against Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon

Michael Beale said his Sunderland players had to be braver in possession after they fell to a second away defeat in a matter of days at Birmingham City.

The Black Cats took the lead through Jack Clarke in the first half and looked to be in control of the game, but the hosts took charge in the second half and won thanks to goals from Jordan James and Koji Miyoshi.

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Beale siad his side played backwards and sideways too much in the second half and invited pressure and siad he was disappointed with the impact of his substitutions.

"We play well first-half and we were worthy of our lead," Beale said.

"Great save from John Ruddy from Romaine just before half-time as well. We knew what was going to come. The crowd was going to get up and they were going to press. I felt we cause our own problems by playing backwards and sideways too much. We needed to maybe play down the sides. We spoke about it at half-time. We didn't execute second-half.

"The guys I brought into the game didn't really have an impact either. Disappointed with both goals. The first goal, we win the ball a couple of times in midfield and then give it away. Maybe, we lose out in a big challenge in and around the box. To be fair to the back four, they're throwing their body on the line in front of the ball to save the goal but it goes in. The second goal we switch off from a set play. Which is disappointing. We have to find a way of getting results away from home. Our away form is nowhere near good enough.

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"Sometimes, you've got to say fair play. We won the ball back at times and turned it over on the first pass. As good as we were in the first-half, playing through them when they were pressing us, second-half we found it difficult. When they had it, I thought we were a bit disjointed. We tried to switch it up and get two playing higher up the pitch later in the game. Certainly with Jobe going further forward, then bringing Hemir on at the death.

"Even when we had a couple of chances at the end, we're unlucky with the Mason goal. It's marginally offside and it's the correct decision having seen it back. We're unlucky in that moment at 1-1 because it would have been a big moment in the game. In the second-half, it was Birmingham doing all the pushing and we made a lot of individual errors in the second-half."

Beale said there were similar failings in both defeats and expanded on what he feels those are.

"When teams come and press us, we have to be braver at times to play forward," he said.

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"We have to be better in possession certainly when we regain the ball. There was times today in the middle of the park and we gave the ball away on the first pass. Then you leave yourself vulnerable to a quick counter the other way. Some of our decision making at times in the second-half, albeit at times in the first-half I thought we looked a good team. There's a lot for me to go away and improve on. Me first and then the team will follow."

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