Stephen Elliott: Mistakes have been made but this is why I believe Sunderland boss Lee Johnson deserves another chance at promotion
It’s the hope, isn’t it?
After the first two goals went in on Saturday the noise felt like there was a packed out crowd at the ground rather than the restricted 10,000.
My thoughts were, ‘this is happening….’
But again the belief soon drifted into the distance once the initial onslaught deteriorated and Lincoln found their mojo.
I spoke last week of my concerns before the first leg tie that Lee Johnson didn’t know what his best team was.
I feel over these two games against Lincoln that problem was highlighted and one of the main obstacles in the way of Sunderland proceeding.
However, the reason why Johnson has this problem is that the majority of his squad are not at the level required to be successful in getting out of this division.
He has ultimately been trying to find a winning formula that just isn’t there with this squad of players.
Three years now in this league and every time this squad really needed to rise to the challenge when the pressure is on they have failed drastically. It’s not acceptable and Sunderland fans deserve so much more.
Going back to Johnson and moving forward I think he deserves a chance of bringing in some players that are capable of playing and performing to the levels consistently to get out of this division.
Having a full pre-season would no doubt help him implement his philosophies right from the get go of next season.
I think you have to look at the bigger picture and see where he has taken this squad from the time he first came in. He has done a reasonable job to get to this stage.
Recently though, I do I feel he has made a few mistakes but I don’t see the point of changing a manager again.
I think he is a good manager and could be the guy to get the job done next season.
There are a lot of players out of contract and I don’t think many of them can put their hands up and say they deserve to be offered the chance to continue at this club.
The playing squad needs an overhaul and a new mindset needs to be introduced on the pitch. I’m not saying it’s going to be straightforward but the squad needs winners and leaders.
Grant Leadbitter and Aiden McGeady are two players that I feel have those leadership qualities, albeit in different ways, but unfortunately both are in their twilight years.
It will be interesting to see where both their futures lie, especially McGeady, as he has been, in my opinion, Sunderland’s best player this season.
Considering he only played his first game in December his assists record has been phenomenal and one of the main catalysts why Sunderland had even a chance of going up.
Whatever happens with them two, they are the type of mindsets and characters needed at the club as this division will be a lot tougher next year.
The new owner must back the manager and if Johnson is to be that guy then he just has to get the personnel right coming through the door.