Tony Gillan: This is what Sunderland MUST do to turn the tide and secure a much-needed win

Once again we have to ask: why don’t Sunderland just attack?

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 12:30 pm
Why don't Sunderland just attack?

Two clean sheets in the last 21 league games makes us query the wisdom of building the team on its defence, so surely it has to be a case of; if they score three, we’ll score four.

Easier said than done, I know. However, they surely have to try. The strikers have forgotten where the net is, but the occasional ball to feet in the penalty area would be helpful.

There is no guaranteed way to make out-of-form players suddenly morph into confident, skilled artisans. But they can at least be given some guidance.

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In the 73rd minute of Sunderland’s last game, they trailed 2-1 to Burton Albion who then won a corner. The home team defended that corner with 11 players.

This proved too much for one particular gentleman in the imaginatively named East Stand, and he interrupted the pained quietness to make his feelings known.

He uttered a sentence I am prohibited from reproducing in print. Had all the expletives been removed from his speech, it wouldn’t have made any sense. Nevertheless, he had spoken for the many.

Eleven back on a corner doesn’t even make sense defensively. A clearance will only reach an opponent and be returned to your penalty area?

It makes even less sense when your side is trailing. Were Sunderland trying to hold on to a one-goal deficit?

Why not leave at least one player left forward? Or two or three? The other team would have to leave at least as many back.

The Tranmere game in October provided false hope. I say that not because Sunderland won 5-0 (Tranmere were too poor for that to cause much excitement), but because they played on the front foot and tried, on that occasion successfully, to get behind defenders.

But Tranmere was an aberration.

Most supporters in the current woebegone circumstances would take any manner of victory, starting at Gillingham on Saturday.

But when the bad results are stacking up anyway, wouldn’t Sunderland be better off trying to attack and entertain?

It could hardly put them in worse form.