Sunderland boss: No excuses for players and I’ll mix it up during international break

Lee Cattermole and Lamine Kone suffer in Saturday's defeat to Preston. Picture by Frank Reid
Lee Cattermole and Lamine Kone suffer in Saturday's defeat to Preston. Picture by Frank Reid
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The gap to safety remains the same – five points – but, after another shocking Stadium of Light performance, Sunderland manager Chris Coleman was in no mood to start clutching at straws.

Sunderland are going down from the Championship with a whimper and there are no excuses.

“Birmingham won but the rest of them lost. The most important thing is that we lost again,” Coleman said after the Black Cats succumbed to a 2-0 home loss to play-off hopefuls Preston on Saturday.

“I don’t want to give my lot any excuses by saying it’s still only five points, we’ve got to do something different.

“We’ve got to start asking the opposition more questions.

“What have got to lose now? If we don’t try something different, it doesn’t look like we’re going to get away from where we are.

“As soon as we conceded the first goal, everyone got sucked down again and there was a feeling that this is never going to turn around.

“It felt like we were never going to win another game of football.

“The one thing when you’ve been on a run like we have, or the run the club has been on over the last two years, when things like that happen people are going to walk out because they’ve had their gutful.

“It was a gritty game and we were in it, but, as soon as they scored from that free-kick, you could feel the atmosphere from everybody, thinking ‘here we go again’.

“You look at the final half hour and you think if you had a magic wand just to change everything, you’d do that.

“But we haven’t got that.

“With eight games left, we’re rock bottom, we haven’t won in 10 and we’ve lost again at home.

“It was the same goals we gave away, the same type of goals and that’s where we are.

“For the minute, it’s extremely tough circumstancess.

“There’s no enjoyment for anybody and it’s hard to do it week in, week out with the same feeling and the same problems that we’re not solving.

“There’s no excuses. I’m saying the same things over and over, unfortunately.”

It leaves the Black Cats facing a long fortnight of soul-searching – because of the international break – before a trip to Derby on Good Friday.

Coleman admits that he is preparing to make changes to try to stir a reaction before it is too late.

The former Wales chief said: “I’ll be in with my wife and two young kids. This two weeks should have been one we were coming into with a win and, with Barnsley losing, it should have been a real good two weeks.

“Now it’s going to be a long two weeks.

“The disappointment is there, and it’s caused by us, of course.

“I’ve got to look at what we’re doing and we’ve got to come up with something.

“(It must be) something different because whatever we’re doing, we’ve changed personnel and this and that and it’s not worked.

“We’ve got to do something again to spark something. Otherwise, the consequences are pretty obvious.

“They maybe need some time away from each other. We all need it probably.

“That’s not us going away together as a squad, it’s more a case of just a bit of time at home with their families.”