Rowell Report: Sunderland have become Manchester City’s bogey team

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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WHAT an absolutely brilliant result we got on Sunday, especially after the self-inflicted debacle just one week earlier at Hull.

There’s not many clubs in the Premier League that regard us as their bogey team but in Man City’s case, they surely must by now.

For the fourth year in succession, Sunderland have somehow come up with a winning plan and the work ethic that has meant City returned to Manchester pointless yet again.

Wes Brown was immense, following on from where he left off in the cup midweek and is showing what Sunderland have missed over the last two years.

Brown and O’Shea have got to be the oldest centre-back pairing in the league but their reading of the game was excellent and time and again they frustrated the City forwards who have been scoring for fun lately.

In fact before Sunday’s game, City had scored more goals this season than we’ve had shots on target and that underlines the task Sunderland faced.

Full-back Phil Bardsley is becoming a goal machine, with his second goal in two games and more performances like that will help better than anything to erase his past indiscretions.

Gus Poyet is starting to put his stamp on the team now and the tactical shift was noticeable with our centre-backs splitting, allowing Ki Sung-Yueng to receive the ball off Vito Mannone time and again and we started our attacks from there.

Expect to see more of this over the coming games as Sunderland try to evolve into a passing team with an emphasis on ball possession.

For all the talk of team selection and tactics though, Sunday’s win was just as much if not more about will and determination and a desire that was greater than Manchester City’s.

We looked as if we wanted it badly, which was great to see and I lost count of the amount of times the players threw their bodies in the way to block shots through total commitment to hang on to their lead.

You can’t buy what that sort of performance will do to dressing room morale, as the team will recognise that everyone played their part and no-one went missing.

That’s three home wins in a row now and at last we are getting some sort of momentum when playing in front of our own supporters.

This win was largely unexpected but hugely important.

It may not have got us out of the bottom three but there are teams above us that don’t seem so far away now.