Malcolm Dawson writes……the overall feeling amongst the Sunderland fraternity is that Jermain Defoe will bring a new dimension to a side that lacks pace. He also brings a goal scoring pedigree but the question being asked was how would Gus fit him into his style of play. The manager has been coming in for some stick lately but has to work with the players that he has available. This afternoon, Cattermole and Bridcutt notwithstanding, he had a greater choice than for a long time. As if responding to public criticism he picked a more attacking side, playing in a more attacking formation. That we conceded so early was a blow. That we conceded so late was another. But in his post match e-mail to M Salut and the rest of the world Gus expresses his disappointment in optimistic terms.
It hurts to concede so late but I don’t want to be too critical because I thought the players did very well in the game. It was a new way of playing, a new shape and I thought we looked good and created chances.
We got in good positions with both [Jermain] Defoe and [Steven] Fletcher having early chances, but this is only the first time we’ve tried to play like this and I think it was a good start. It’s different having two strikers running on and I think we looked much brighter; we adjusted a few things and I think it could work well for us. We responded very well after going behind and kept pushing forward whenever we got the chance.
I think Jermain did very well; he looked very sharp to start with but then he got tired – of course he wanted to stay on the pitch, but we took him off. The only way he will get fitness is to play in matches and that’s why he started today.
The cup game next week gives us a chance to keep improving and try this new system once again.
Overall, I’m pleased with the way we played today but disappointed with the result.
Thanks for your support,
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