Sunderland’s deserved victory at Plymouth Argyle was also a decent game of football. Argyle played quite well, but were second best.
Not that their manager, Derek Adams, was prepared to admit this when adding to the entertainment with a post-match tantrum that was quite wonderfully graceless,
He huffed: “I don’t think a defeat is the right scoreline. Sunderland rode their luck a number of times in the match.”
Mr Adams was outraged that his side weren’t awarded penalties; perhaps unaware that it’s only handball when it’s deliberate.
He imagined that Tafari Moore’s crude and naive barge on Luke O’Nien resulted in a “soft” penalty, that a goalkeeper playing well is somehow fortunate and that Plymouth’s mistakes were not there to be punished.
To complete the fantasy, he added: “I think over the 90 minutes we were the better team.” Boom! Boom!
I’m afraid Derek made something of bitter spectacle of himself. So be it. Let’s hope a few more opposition managers are sulking after playing Sunderland this season.
However, while romantic versions of how super-duperly his team performed are a fun read, his wider comments were unwarranted and plain wrong.
A couple of weeks ago, Doncaster boss Grant McCann said before his side’s defeat to Sunderland: “They should be running away with the league really, with the budget they’ve got.”
(Note to managers: when it’s this obvious you’re trying to play mind games, then you aren’t very good at them.)
Derek Adams, who also feels that Sunderland losing one game from 16 is somehow attributable to “riding their luck”, expressed the same ill-informed opinion.
SAFC’s debts make them technically the skintest club in the league.
The transfer budget? Jon McLaughlin for example, the goalkeeper who so annoyed Derek with all those spiteful saves on Saturday, was a free transfer. He’s not the only one.
In fact, Jack Ross’ only recruit for big money, by the standards of League One, was what we understand, but don’t know for sure, was spent on Charlie Wyke – who has barely played.
Doncaster and Plymouth may wish that they could afford the salaries of the likes of Cattermole, Oviedo, McGeady and Matthews.
So do Sunderland.
In reality, they could do with beating Port Vale in the FA Cup this Sunday, then winning another televised fixture in the next round. They need the cash.
SAFC managers seem to attract readily-believed lies. Steve Bruce was not sacked because of where he came from. The relegation that David Moyes contributed so much to was not because the club was “unsaveable”.
Jack Ross has not done so well this season so far because he was handed a blank cheque. Far from it.
Nor is it feasible for 35 points from a possible 48, plus the fewest goals conceded in the league, to be some sort of fluke.
Hard-fought? Certainly. Jammy? Don’t be silly.
A little respect please.