Sunderland defender Jordan Willis on the key to his team's impressive defensive record and Doncaster draw

Jordan Willis says Sunderland’s rapidly improving defensive record is down to an excellent work-rate right throughout the team.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 6:00 am
Sunderland defender Jordan Willis

The Black Cats kept their third clean sheet in a row against Doncaster Rovers on Friday night, with Willis again impressing in a resilient defensive unit.

Sunderland have been a significantly improved side off the ball throughout the campaign, but that has taken time to translate into clean sheets.

They now have the joint-best defensive record in the division.

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“We've got the extra centre-back there which helps shore things up at the back, but at the same time it allows us to attack a bit more diversely going forward,” he said.

“But the main thing is everyone is working really hard, on and off the ball, that's really helping us keeping those clean sheets.

“Earlier in the season there were a few minor errors causing goals, we seemed to have erased those.

“There's always luck in football, sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't, but I think we're creating our own luck at the moment by working really hard and being solid defensively.

“If you can keep clean sheets, it gives you a great base to build off,” he added.

“We'll keep working on both sides of the game, keep creating chances and hopefully score some more good goals.

“We're looking solid, the whole team has got that mentality and we need to keep that going.”

The Black Cats were ultimately frustrated by Doncaster in the second half, Phil Parkinson stating that they need a touch more composure in their play.

Willis echoed that message.

“To be fair, they set traps pretty well in the first half, allowed us to play and then pressed us quite high up the pitch,” he said.

“In the second half they sat in quite a bit more, we weren't quite fortunate enough to break them down.

“We created a few chances and we’ve got to keep doing that.

“We just have to keep playing the way we know how to play, keep moving the ball quickly, shift the opposition around and if you do that the chances will come.

“We had a few chances when we did do that.”