Chris Coleman admits he was left sharing the frustration of Sunderland’s support after a wretched display of set-piece taking against Ipswich Town.
The Black Cats forced 12 corners against Mick McCarthy’s side and also had a number of free-kicks in advanced areas, but to the despair of the home fans wasted the vast majority.
Sunderland have also looked vulnerable defensively from their own attacking set-pieces and have been caught cold on the counter more than once in a woeful campaign.
Coleman had praise for John O’Shea’s determination, the captain almost scoring in the first half with a header, but wants to see much more aggression from his team-mates when attacking the ball over the last 16 games of the season.
Coleman said: “Where do I start with that?
”There’s an incident right at the end where we have a set play. Sheasy wins a header and it bounces. If we really react to it, we get a shot at goal.
“It’s the first phase and we’re not thinking about the second phase - Ipswich were. That’s what I’m talking about. Maybe that will come with experience.
“Bryan was taking the deliveries - he’d been sharing it with George – and he was hit and miss, but, in fairness to him, when he does put it in the right areas we don’t win the first one enough, don’t win the second one enough, and straight away we’re defending.
“We may as well keep five back, put a couple in the box, take a short corner and play for time but for me a set play is a chance to score a goal.
“You can send one body up and if you deliver the ball into the right area and that one person really wants to go and win it, he can. I’ve seen that many times. But if you’re not really going for it, you’re never going to get it.
“To be fair, John got on the end of one in the first half and another one in the second half which bounced. With anyone else, we don’t look like we’re going to win that first challenge.”
Stats website whoscored.com lists Sunderland’s set piece goal tally as six for the season so far, with only four teams in the league registering fewer.