Sunderland players don’t look like they have courage or talent to save us from drop

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Where do you even start after that? Or more importantly, where does Chris Coleman even start after that?

At half time, he must have been reletively happy with what he saw. There may have been no cutting edge in the final third but the lads had been solid enough at the back and the longer the game stayed like that, the more chance they would have had of nicking a result, just like they did at Nottingham Forest.

Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman

I’m sure that was the game plan – keep a clean sheet and try and steal something on the break. Hardly pretty and not something you can try every week but away from home, to a decent side, with limited options in our squad, it was the correct approach.

Within a minute of the first half though, that plan was out the window. Two minutes later, Didier Ndong was shown a red card and the game was a write off.

A typical Sunderland implosion and another display that makes you doubt whether this team can even stay afloat in the second tier.

Just how can the club turn this around, in such a short space of time and avoid dropping into League One though? I’ve been optimistic ever since Coleman came in but that game and that manner of defeat has got me truly worried about a second consecutive relegation.

At half time I thought it was a great showcase of where we need to strengthen. We offered nothing going forward and our need for attacking reinforcement in the January transfer window was clear.

There was little impetus in the midfield and our desperation for someone to give us a little spark was obvious. At least it gave you the hope to cling on to that Coleman could maybe bring some new faces in and turn things around.

If we narrowly lost the game, of course you would be annoyed but you would still have a glimmer of hope.

Ten minutes into the second half made me realise it’s not that straight forward though.

Mentality is everything in football and this squad is so fragile that as soon as things start to go wrong, they can’t turn it around. Coleman knows that as well. Since day one he has spoken about how he wants the right kind of characters at the club and in the same breath, he’s laid down the law and told the players that if they’re not strong enough to handle this situation, they can go.

I didn’t see anyone take the field at Cardiff who looks like they have that fight in them. I’m not saying that none of them care or that some of them aren’t frustrated about what’s going on, I’m saying that it just doesn’t look like they have what it takes to pull us out. Be that in terms of talent or just pure courage.

It was symbolic that Coleman’s players let him down in such a fashion, as he stood in the very stadium where players used to run through brick walls for him.

I believe that, as long as he does stay on Wearside, he will get those kind of players here eventually. What division he’s in when they arrive is another question entirely.