Sunderland youngster Joel Asoro reacts to being subbed at QPR following Jason Steele red

Joel Asoro.
Joel Asoro.
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Promising Sunderland forward Joel Asoro says the team must always come before individuals.

The 18-year-old was subbed by Chris Coleman following Jason Steele’s red card four minutes into the second half at Loftus Road last weekend to allow Lee Camp to come on.

Given Asoro had been one of the brighter players and adds pace to the side, the decision drew criticism from the travelling Sunderland support.

Coleman explained his reasons post match and said Asoro - who had been carrying a knock in the build-up - would have come off after an hour anyway, so the decision was taken to sacrifice him 10 minutes early instead.

Asoro said he fully understood and respected the decision.

“As soon as the red card happened we knew it was going to be tough,” Asoro told the club website.

“It’s hard enough to play with ten men, but the timing of them this season has made games difficult for us because they’re happening with a lot of time left on the clock.

“Against Wolves we managed to dig in and earn a point, and I thought we were more than capable of doing that on Saturday, but after falling behind the chance we needed to take never arrived. It was a tough defeat to take, particularly after our first-half performance.

“Of course. As a player you want to be on the pitch but when these things happen you have to respect the decision the manager has taken, as he has the experience and knowledge of how to come through these situations in the best possible way.

“The team must always come before any individual, and as players we always have to respect that.”

Sunderland are now five points adrift of safety following Barnsley’s midweek draw with Norwich City, ahead of the game with Preston North End at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Asoro added: “You are always aware of other results - that’s football.

“For us, we can say ‘we have to focus on ourselves’ or ‘do this and that’ all we want, but right now we actually have to do it because time is running out.

“We have to find a way of winning games and building momentum, I don’t care how we do it or how we play or whatever else, we just have to make it happen.”