Sunderland striker steps up fitness as coach demands more from players after Swansea defeat

Sunderland striker Josh Maja in action.
Sunderland striker Josh Maja in action.
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Josh Maja got 60 minutes under his belt as he continued his comeback from injury with Sunderland’s Under-23s.

The highly-rated youngster has been out of action since pre-season, but continued his push to be part of Chris Coleman’s first-team plans by getting some valuable minutes under his belt at Eppleton.

However, the forward was unable to stop Elliott Dickman’s side crashing to a 2-0 defeat against Swansea City.

Sunderland struggled to get going in the first half, and the Jacks were always the bigger threat. Luke Molyneux headed wide late in the opening period, but a minute before the interval

Swansea went ahead from the penalty spot.

Brandon taylow was adjudged to have brought down Kenji Gorre in the box and Oli McBurnie stepped up to convert.

McBurnie nearly doubled the lead in the second half from a header, but was thwarted by Max Stryjek.

Swansea were reduced to 10 men late on when Cian Harries was dismissed for a second bookable offence after pulling back Andrew Nelson but Sunderland couldn’t capitalise and

instead, McBurnie sealed the visitors’ win in injury time.

A disappointed Elliott Dickman, Under-23 coach, said: "We played some good stuff in the first-half after having to make a little adjustment to our shape.

"We did well and we passed the ball well. Our movement up top could’ve been better but it was all positive until we gave a penalty away right before half-time.

"We talk a lot about managing the game when you are winning and losing and to be fair they made it tough and I suppose you have got to give them credit.

"We had to keep the tempo up, we went a bit more direct and in the end we conceded a second goal.

"Were they two goals better than us? In my opinion they weren’t but we have got to learn to manage the game a little bit better."

Sunderland: Stryjek, J Robson, Hume, Bale (Greenwood, 74), Taylor, Beadling, Molyneux, E Robson, Nelson, Maja (Diamond, 60), Embleton. Not used: Storey, Talbot, Allan

Josh Maja continues comeback in Sunderland U23s defeat against Swansea