Sunderland transfer news: Parent club ready to ‘offload’ SAFC loanee, Black Cats talks on ‘back burner’ amid promotion push

Alex Neil says he needed to adapt his Sunderland starting XI to Rotherham’s threat after Elliot Embleton dropped to the bench on Tuesday night.

Embleton produced a ‘sensational’ performance against Cambridge United on Saturday but Neil said afterwards that this game ‘was never going to be like that’.

Neil said he had adapted his side to deal with Rotherham’s physical threat, with the visitors having the better of the first half following Michael Ihiekwe’s goal from a corner.

“I just felt we needed to win the midfield battle against them,” Neil said when asked about his Embleton decision.

Elliot Embleton is a wonderful footballer but he understands that there are certain specific games that I think are suited to specific players.

“People will argue if we did this from the start or we done this and done that…. all the homework that I’ve done, all the teams that have beaten Rotherham, I watched Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday, Oxford, all the best footballing teams and they’ve all lost. And then I watched Shrewsbury, Fleetwood who beat them twice.

“There is a blueprint for any team to beat any team and I’ve spent all week watching the best part of five or six matches to try and give us the best chance of winning the game. If it means having to drop a player out who played particularly well in the last game, then that’s fine.

“The lads do understand that it is a squad game and that is what is required and needed at certain moments. Embo has been fantastic in the last three matches and came on and contributed to the game. It is what it is.”

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