Malcolm Dawson writes….an old familiar feeling returned today as I took my seat and saw Sam’s team selection. When I saw a starting eleven with Gomez, Johnson, and Watmore in the middle and Fletcher on his own up front I knew what to expect. A team that would sit deep, trying to defend a nil nil from the kick off with not enough flair or pace to keep the ball when we got it and with precious little to threaten the Southampton defence. Perhaps addressing that was the thinking behind starting Watmore but in Lens and Borini we have two players who can counter attack but I settled down for an afternoon of attrition and so it proved. Whenever we saw a Southampton attack break down there was no one to make anything of the clearance and the Saints would be immediately on the attack again. This was a Poyet performance, an O’Neill display or a Bruce game plan. We have made precious little progress, let me rephrase that, no progress since I don’t know when. Big Sam can say what he likes but if I hadn’t got a season ticket I would be seriously considering going to watch Northern League every weekend. I have seen worse but watching the way the team played today was like wearing an old pair of carpet slippers….uncomfortable. Big Sam shares his post match thoughts with M Salut and a few others and perhaps his view that we lost one point and not three tells us all we need to know about what to expect in the coming months.
SUNDERLAND 0 SOUTHAMPTON 1
We’ve lost a point on the basis that we’ve given a penalty to Southampton that we didn’t have to give. Unfortunately it was given by without a doubt our best player at the minute which is Yann M’Vila – his control, his passing and his work-rate is an example for all of us to try to get to as a team. Sadly he had a lack of concentration or a mad moment because he didn’t need to make that tackle. He’s covered brilliantly behind [DeAndre] Yedlin and he just needs to jockey the Southampton player out the box, but he decided to slide in and win it and I can’t blame the referee for giving a penalty.
It is a bitter blow for us on the basis of how we’ve defended against a very talented side, but I have to say I was bitterly disappointed in our possession.
We didn’t do enough with the ball to cause Southampton a few more problems and we’re playing at home, so the balance in and out of possession is something that I have to find. We just have to keep getting the lads to believe and show them the right way, because the more and more we do the basics right the more creative we will become. If they concentrate on that and keep as fit as they possibly can physically and mentally we can try and turn this around as quickly as we can.
Thanks for your support,