Malcolm Dawson writes…..last Saturday afternoon, on my way to the Stadium of Light, I gazed out over Roker beach at a sea that was a deep shade of battleship grey. It seemed appropriate with the week ahead. Although like all fans I live in hope, the little nagging voice of realism was telling me that a return of zero points was a distinct possibilty. But hadn’t we outplayed all three teams on their own grounds at the back end of last season. Sure we only got four points from the nine available, but we won at the Bridge, almost took all three at the Etihad where Vito’s fumble gave City a point they hardly deserved and although beaten at Liverpool had given them a good run for their money. Despite that, my head said anything would be good. I was impressed with the way we played last Saturday, and fully deserved the point. Overwhelmed by a quality team in midweek, how would we react today? Happy with a point? I guess so but the inability to convert one point into three is becoming a little worrying. Still Gus was impressed as his e-mail to M Salut and others shows.
After 65-70 minutes I thought today was going to be the day that Sunderland got a win at Anfield – unfortunately we weren’t able to score a goal to change the game. From this performance what we need to take and make sure of, is that we when we play like this and are on top in a game we can go on and score and get the win.
On a positive note we are becoming a very difficult team to play against; we stopped Chelsea from scoring last week and now we’ve stopped Liverpool from scoring at Anfield; that’s credit to the players and the way they’ve been playing. The team have been defending well at the back and really worked their socks off. Then up front we’ve shown confidence to get forward and create chances to score goals.
It was important for the players who came into the side today to realise how much they were needed; it was fresh legs for us and an opportunity for them to play at Anfield. Most of the players who started today started against Everton, so there was no great surprise, they know each other and have played alongside each other so it didn’t change our shape. These players having been knocking on my door to play and they gave good performances, which is great for our system, as we’ve got a lot of games coming up and may need to make changes to stay fresh.
O’Shea and Brown did very well – with Wes nearly scoring. They both have a lot of experience and they are important players for us.
Overall I think it was a decent performance.
Thanks for your support,