After the traumatic week Sunderland have had, it should have been no surprise it ended with yet another defeat to local rivals Middlesbrough.
There wasn’t much between the two teams, they were both poor but the losing culture is so ingrained that changing that mentality will be Sunderland’s next managers toughest challenge.
The only goal of the game came after just six minutes but incredibly Sunderland should have scored before Boro’s early strike, when Lewis Grabban missed a chance he would normally bury with his eyes shut, although I’m not sure how much the Boro keeper knew about his save.
As so often has happened this season, Sunderland go a goal down when they should be a goal up and all the confidence and belief that would have given them was instead handed to their opponents.
I wasn’t overly impressed with Boro, but I still think they will get a play-off place, but Sunderland matched them in the first 45 minutes before running out of steam – another thing they always do in the second half.
That wasn’t helped with Didier Ndong’s injury as losing his energy from the engine room handed Boro the initiative and I never felt we could get back in the game after his departure.
Sunday’s performance was far from being the worst of the season, but that is the problem, whether Sunderland are good or bad the result is always a disappointment.
Rock bottom of the Championship means we are very much in another relegation battle and there is no club too good or too big to go down, after all we have been in the third tier before.
However, the one thing in our favour is there is still time to get out of the current mess we find ourselves in and it is at times like these when I think back to Bob Stokoe’s arrival at Roker Park when Sunderland were again in the doldrums struggling at the wrong end of this division, but he quickly got Sunderland up the table and won the FA Cup as a bonus. Well, at least we can still hope and dream.