Strong Sunderland side beat Carlisle United in behind-closed-doors friendly

Sunderland's Academy of Light training base.
Sunderland's Academy of Light training base.
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Sunderland hosted League Two Carlisle United at the Academy of Light on Tuesday afternoon, a strong Black Cats side winning 3-0.

Sunderland don't have a game this week and the behind-closed-doors fixture was arranged to give some squad members vital minutes.

The Sunderland team has not been confirmed but Carlisle coaches described the Black Cats as fielding a 'very strong' side for the friendly win.

Carlisle coach Paul Murray told the News and Star: "It was a very strong Sunderland outfit and they probably had 90 per cent of possession in the first half.

"It was always likely that a lot of our game would be spent out of possession because their line-up was so good.

"Our shape was really good and we kept them quiet for 65 minutes. We probably should have gone ahead before half-time.

"Late in the game we tired but the players had put a real shift in. You can lose your concentration when you are tired and that's what happened with the goals.

"Generally, though, they stuck to their task well and it was a very good learning curve for our young players playing against some top quality opponents.

"It was a good exercise in terms of facing a decent team, and also fitness-wise."

The former Hartlepool United manager added: "We finished the game with six scholars on the pitch against a team of first-team professionals.

"The trialists all worked hard but it was such a tough game for trialists to come into."

Sunderland are back in action at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, Plymouth Argyle the visitors for the League One clash.