Rowell Report: Sunderland must find that cup spirit

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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SUNDERLAND are still rooted in the bottom three after that uninspiring defeat at Norwich City at the weekend.

The performance, especially in the first half, has to go down as one of the worst of the season as the team were outplayed and outfought by an average Norwich side.

Sunderland looked weak, both physically and mentally, and it was only the introduction of Lee Cattermole that brought any sort of fight and desire to the team.

I believe Sunderland are a better team with Cattermole in it.

And for all his faults, at least he gives everything and brings energy and drive to the side.

The game was over as a contest at half-time, with their two-goal cushion Norwich didn’t have to chase the game in the second half and Sunderland didn’t have the quality to stage a comeback.

Where has the vibrancy and passion that Sunderland showed so much of in the cup final, gone to?

It’s a question many Sunderland fans are asking, as it has been lacking in the three games since Wembley.

Gus Poyet has somehow got to get the spirit and belief back into a team that played as if they were just waiting to go behind at Carrow Road.

And that won’t be an easy job, as the players looked devoid of all confidence.

The fact that the head coach made a double substitution before even the half-time whistle was blown, summed everything up about Sunderland’s first-half efforts, where the lack of ideas and organisation was alarming.

Marcos Alonso just rounded off a bad day with his totally unnecessary red card and now Sunderland lose him for the game at Liverpool.

So, another game against a relegation rival that Sunderland went into with reasonable hopes, proves to be an anti-climax and the win for Norwich takes them seven points clear of Sunderland which, at this stage of the season is a very big lead.

No surprise that the one good thing to come out of the day didn’t happen at Carrow Road, but that up and down the country, every other team at the bottom lost and it’s just as well they did as Sunderland did not do anything to help themselves.