Postcard from Portugal: praising van Aanholt and Catts, rebuking a hostile minority

Liam Bridcutt
Richy with Liam Bridcutt

Two down, one to go, with a win and a defeat so far. Our man in Portugal, Richy Duggan, offers his report and analysis of the late defeat to CD Nacional. That leaves Vitória Setúbal on Saturday before it’s home for the final fortnight of the pre-season preparations. Richy will be pleased to hear the five World Cup replica balls for his Hendon Young People’s Project arrived yesterday – Salut! Sunderland having to raid the piggy bank to pay excess postage of 57 euros – and will be up on Wearside for hand delivery as soon as M Salut finds himself back for a match …

Olá lads from Portugal!……picking up the lingo now. I have red and wite sunburn and a belly from the Super Bock! But won’t let anything so trivial put me off so here we go:

Around 1,000 fans turned again up to support the lads against CD National in the heat of Albufeira.

Sunderland lined up with all four new signings in the starting 11 but slipped to a one-nil defeat. A quiet first half had a few in the crowd voicing their opinions at Gus Poyet, shouting “we want the youths” and even “Gus out” [Peter Reid would smile reading that – Ed]. Many true SAFC fans told the mouthpieces what they thought of their opinions.

Yes the game never went our way, the Lads looked sluggish. But after all this is pre-season. It is about fitness and game time. What can you expect? It is also sport after all; winning and losing is a part of that.

I think the criticism of the players and Gus was disgusting if I am honest. I’ve never been a fan who booed my team, even when we have been well and truly spanked. People pay good money and have the right to boo but without a doubt it does not help.

Our fans were excellent but the three or four idiots would have been better off staying in the pub where they had clearly been all day.

Foreign fields
Foreign fields

On a positive note, Patrick van Aanholt looks excellent. He is pacey with fast feet, has an eye for a pass and he not scared to put the boot in which some modern day full backs seem to neglect. He has learnt his trade at Chelsea [plus lots of loans – Ed] and now it is Pat’s time to step up and be a Premier League regular.

Jordi Gomez was pulling the strings, showing ability to play a ball forward, and looks to be a very good signing. He was my man of the match for the night.

And as for Billy Jones? … who is he, some sing. Well he is clearly a well accomplished Premier League full back and has been for a number of years now. Costel did well enough and was unlucky not to stop the goal he conceded.

Lee Cattermole took a kick on the ankle and came off around the hour mark. I hope he is okay as we will need his bite in the team. Connor Wickham got the plaudits for his goals last season at the end in the great escape but Sunderland’s real hero was Cattermole. The lad never gives up. He constantly breaks the play up. With better players around him this year such as Jordi Gomez who retains the ball better then anyone I have seen in a Sunderland shirt since Claudio Reyna, Lee will have the chance to play his position a lot better covering less for other people’s mistakes.

Well, does Gus needs new signings……?

I think it is a mix of both. From last night’s performance it is critical we inject some much needed pace into the centre of the park. It is also important that we get a real pacey winger who can be direct and cut in on the inside and drive into the box. We constantly got the ball to the final third and then had to recycle possession as we have no player down the left who wants to make that dribble and go past a player the way we used to see with (Allan) Magic Johnston.

Have we already got these lads at the club? Maybe Watmore, Mandron and Honeyman might have something to say about that.

It is well and truly stick or twist for Gus and his guys. The final game is Saturday and it will be interesting to see who is in the starting 11.

So until Saturday, check out the sites, get in the Super Bock and watch it all unfold under the sun, the beach ain’t no Seaburn but at least we have the sun!

#AwayTheLads

Big Alfie N'Diaye
With big Alfie N’Diaye

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2 thoughts on “Postcard from Portugal: praising van Aanholt and Catts, rebuking a hostile minority”

  1. I can’t get away with that Super Bock tbh. Pleased I’m not there having to drink that stuff.

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