Wise Men Say: Sunderland have so little margin for error that Portsmouth loss has to be a one off

There we have it. Sunderland lose a game again – we’d almost forgotten what that feels like, right?

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 7:03 pm
Chris Maguire of Sunderland is brought down and appeals for a penalty.

Was it awful? Not really, no. But it certainly wasn’t what we’ve come to expect following our post-Boxing Day renaissance.

The fact it came to our biggest rivals in League One (according to them) makes it all the harder to take.

The harsh reality of where we are, and why it’s been so hard to forgive and forget our awful run of form prior to December 28th, is that we have so little margin for error now.

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Performances and results like that one yesterday are that much more damaging than they ordinarily would be - any time we don’t win we lose serious ground. For us, standing still is moving backwards.

Parky’s lack of rotation is beginning to take it’s toll, and this must change moving forwards.

To achieve the kind of run of results we need, we are going to need to rely on more than the same 11 players each week.

More than half of the starting XI yesterday looked dead on their feet in the second half.

Squad rotation is non-negotiable, and not only has Parkinson displayed little of this since the good run began, he is also slow to make in-game changes too.

This is making us more predictable as well as tired, as when these changes are made they’re usually like for like – what worked every week in early January is unlikely to still work every week in mid-February.

The transfer window was a largely positive one (despite a lack of spending which was not surprising in the least for me – words from the boardroom hold little store these days) and we have players who can make a difference but they need to be used.

Parky’s earned some leeway so for now we need to remain positive - February is a key month though and there can be no more slip ups.

It’s pressure yes, but if this manager and squad are good enough to get us up, then they’ll rise to the occasion.