Rowell Report: Sunderland must do better

Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
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WHAT a disappointing result and performance that was against Southampton on Sunday – we were second best all over the pitch and we were fortunate to get a draw.

I know in the grand scheme of things that point could turn out to be so important to us, but we make things far more complicated for ourselves than we need to.

That’s two home games in a week now against teams around us at the bottom of the league and only one win was needed, but we failed both times and now we’re in the uncomfortable position of hoping Arsenal will do us a favour tonight.

And the annoying thing is that having wasted a chance at the Stadium of Light with Stoke’s visit last Monday, we did exactly the same against Southampton.

From the very start, we never got going – we lacked shape and balance across the middle of the park and Southampton looked a yard quicker and sharper.

Southampton really will be wondering how they didn’t win this game, as they were ahead on every stat except the one that matters most – goals.

Phil Bardsley’s goal was a gem and should have given us the impetus to go on and win the game but I never felt confident we could hang on and Southampton’s equaliser was no surprise.

There were few positives to take – Bardsley’s goal was the only thing the fans had to shout about, and maybe the performances of Simon Mignolet and Danny Rose.

Everyone else I felt was under par and as a team we looked lethargic and lacked any sort of creative spark.

I saw Paolo Di Canio’s after-match Press conference and though he always tries to be positive and, you could tell he was frustrated with his team’s display.

I was wanting the team to sign off in style in our last home game; send our fans home happy, but it wasn’t to be.

In a way the game mirrored our season, great anticipation at the start, underachievement during the business part of affairs, and at the end a result we’re not sure whether to be happy with or not!

To read the rest of the Rowell Report, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.