Sam Allardyce: Why I changed Sunderland’s tactics after just 19 minutes

DeAndre Yedlin is taken off
DeAndre Yedlin is taken off
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Sam Allardyce insists he had no hesitation in turning to his substitutes with less than 20 minutes on the clock against Watford.

Sunderland were dealt a significant blow on the morning of Saturday’s visit of the Hornets after in-form centre-half Younes Kaboul was forced out through illness.

When I see things, there’s no point waiting until half-time which I generally do

Sam Allardyce

The loss of the £3million summer signing was painfully evident during the opening exchanges, as Sunderland’s defence was run ragged by a Watford side who could conceivably have been 3-0 up.

Allardyce reacted, with DeAndre Yedlin taken off in a switch to a 4-5-1, and the Sunderland boss says he couldn’t wait any longer to make a substitution which produced an improvement, albeit without any points.

“The change had to be done,” he said.

“When I see things, there’s no point waiting until half-time which I generally do. It’s about doing things there and then.

“That’s what I’m paid to do.

“You’ve got to do it before it gets any worse, because it wasn’t good at that stage.

“It made a difference.

“We changed it twice. We stabilised it at first and then we went to the diamond and created more chances.”

Full-back Billy Jones took Kaboul’s place in the back three after the only centre-back in Sunderland’s squad, Wes Brown, had returned to full training last week and wasn’t even included on the bench.

But despite Jones previously struggling in an unfamiliar centre-back role in last month’s rout at Everton, Allardyce had not wanted to abandon the system which had been working well for Sunderland.

Allardyce added: “I could have done without Younes Kaboul being ill. I think that was a big blow with Lee Cattermole and Seb Larsson (already out).

“I could have said ‘right lads I’m going to change the whole system because Younes is ill’.

“But I just thought that would have thrown the lads completely after the performances they had given.

“I didn’t think it was so much the system. I just thought it was individuals not playing very well.

“I made the change and put someone else in midfield to give us a bit more protection.

“I think that worked and in the second half, we dominated more and more. The game was bitty because of the conditions, so mistakes were going to be made.

“On what we created – particularly in the second half – we’re very disappointed we haven’t got anything.”