Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray delivers this honest verdict on a mixed performance in Blackpool draw
Tony Mowbray admits his side are missing Ross Stewart after another 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light - but insists that they should still have scored in the first half.
The Sunderland head coach also candidly admitted that his side fell well short of their best in a frenetic second half, in which Blackpool created a number of good opportunities and particularly from set plays where the absence of Stewart and Ellis Simms is also telling.
"The level we want to play at is the first half, we played the ball forward, drove into space, got the ball in the box," Mowbray said.
"And the intensity out of possession to win it back quickly, it was everything we work on and talk about.
"The second half, maybe we ran out of legs, the intensity wasn't there out of possession to give us the impetus to go and do what we can do well. You hope the changes give you a spark but that didn't quite happen tonight, these young lads have done that for us in the past but tonight was difficult for us in the last half hour.
"And yet within that, it's amazing to see us defending set pieces and putting our bodies on the line like that, because I think we have only two lads above 6ft. You can lose those games easily 1-0 from a set play.
"We're frustrated we didn't score off the back we did in the first half, at home we want to win games and keep the fans engaged. It was difficult for us second half but we could have won it with Jack Clarke's header.
"I hope fans can see where we're going and what we're trying to do, sometimes you have to accept in this division you might sometimes end up on the back foot. At times you have to show resilience and resistance and we did that.
"We're frustrated but it's a tight league.
“The first half was what we preach, out of possession we hunted in packs, won it back quickly to break off the back of them. We just missed the finish.
“We stood off a bit too much in the second half, whether it was fatigue..
"We are playing without our main striker, he's still up there in all the data and he hasn't even played the last five games for us. He is a loss, but I keep saying I don't want it to be an excuse, we've got to find a way.
"It's an easy narrative to talk about strikers but we could easily have scored today, we should have scored."
Manchester United loanee Amad made his first start as the side's striker, and Mowbray said the first-half chance that he wasn't able to convert was the perfect example of what he's working on with the youngster.
"We need Amad to shoot more, and we're getting that message across to him every day," Mowbray said.
"At the moment he wants to score that perfect goal.
"He has that chance there in the first half where he has to smash it in... football is about repetition and learning good habits, and that is the journey he is on with us.
"He's learning his trade and he's a good finisher [when he takes it on]."