After a brilliant start to the season, it’s been a testing few weeks for all at Sunderland AFC.
Supporters have a been left slightly disappointed after taking just two points from the last nine. We’ve
lacked dynamism in midfield since we lost Max Power through suspension and we’ve lost our biggest signing of the summer, Charlie Wyke, for three months.
Jack Ross should be frustrated the the slick passing we saw in early showings seems to have broken down. We’ve been drawn into physical battles and been found wanting on more than one occasion. Even though we’ve only played eight games, we need to go back to the way things where.
The Sunderland side of August seemed hell bent on laying a marker down. They inflicted their style of play on the game an the opposition.
As we saw against Scunthorpe and Gillingham, we put our foot on their throats at the right time and came out comfortable winners.
Maybe there’s a bit of the old Sunderland mentality creeping in during recent games.
There’s been an awful lot of focus on conceding first in games. The solution presented appears to be, simply put, don’t. If it was that easy then nobody would be conceding any goals at any point of any game!
The more we dwell on the flaws in our side, the more it becomes a cross to bear. There’s nervousness in the stands and on the pitch about slow starts in games.
Teams come to the Stadium of Light and burn themselves out after 25 minutes, we’ve seen that on nearly every occasion this season.
I’d like to think the focus around encountering this problem would have slightly more depth than ‘just don’t concede early again’. Surely it’s about working out a way of playing to counter these early onslaughts.
We seem a little too relaxed.
Maybe it’s a case of accepting we won’t have a ball at times and being more intense in terms of smothering the opposition when they’re in possession.
Make them work harder when they’re moving the ball. It’d been too easy for teams to come and enjoy their day.
I want them to come thinking they’re in the biggest game of their careers, in front of the biggest crowd some will have ever played in front of, and be thoroughly miserable.
At the start of the season I said I would be delighted if we were on 20 points from our first 10 games.
Four points from our next two would give us 19, having still only lost once.
Regardless of how people think we’ve played, perceived defensive frailties and a lack of depth when it comes to forward areas, we’ve still had an excellent start to the season if you look at the league table.
Rochdale and then Coventry, backed by terrific support, presents a great opportunity to get back on the winning trail again.
On Saturday we need to puff our chests out and show Rochdale, and the rest of the division, how good we are.