Rowell Report: Second half exposed all of Sunderland’s weaknesses

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell.
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell.
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SUNDERLAND resumed their Premier League action after the international break and it was business as usual, unfortunately.

New head coach, same old story – with Sunderland suffering their heaviest defeat of the season so far.

Sunderland are the team that just keeps giving – to the opposition, that is.

Own goals, unnecessary penalties and our regular habit of conceding from corners and this game, especially the second-half, exposed all of Sunderland’s weaknesses.

There was only one goal of the four that we didn’t contribute to – de Guzman’s stunning strike from the edge of the penalty area.

The other three were all preventable, with decent defending and organisation.

The penalty that Gardner conceded was quite simply a gift to Swansea and the two goals conceded from corners both ended in our net off our own players, showing the utter confusion there is when we are defending set pieces.

At half-time, things had been looking good.

The first 45 minutes were evenly matched with Sunderland having the best chance in Fletcher’s early miss.

But the second half turned into a nightmare for Sunderland and the travelling fans.

Once Swansea scored from Phil Bardsley’s own goal, there was only going to be one winner, as the Sunderland players were drained of all confidence and energy.

The difference in body language from being on level terms to being a goal down was alarming and I wasn’t surprised when Gus Poyet questioned the mental strength of some of the players.

Yet again, changes were made but nothing is working.

And the returning Bardsley had a five-minute spell he would rather forget when he missed a chance at one end and scored against his own team at the other.

Poyet’s biggest challenge now, apart from lifting the confidence of his players, is finding his best team.

There seems to be changes every week and does anybody actually know what our best 11 is?

Poyet needs to find this out soon, as we need to start looking like an organised, professional Premier League team, rather than a bunch of strangers, as was the case in the second half last Saturday.