Malcolm Dawson writes….in the games I’ve seen this season Sunderland have been consistent and on a par with the opposition. Spurs looked the better side but didn’t dominate. Swansea were dominated but never really looked like losing. Stoke in the League Cup beat us but we could have just as easily been the winners. The analysis could go on. Today we played much the same BUT we found the back of the net. Suddenly six games without a win becomes only one defeat in seven matches. There were frailties. Giving the ball away too easily. Gomez looking to pass back when a breakaway was on and O’Shea and Cattermole yelling at him to look up the field rather than at Vito. But we played well. Fletch looked sharp in front of goal and worked hard in wide areas and in the deeper positions. The league table is congested but we are 11th as I write. Now we just need to kick on. Gus I think is here for the long term and he was overjoyed today as we can read in his post match e-mail.
It was tough because we started well and got a goal which meant everything was perfect, but then they scored the equaliser and perhaps people started getting a little nervous.
We didn’t get nervous. We were calm, playing the game and believing in what we do with good movement, which are the things we work on – when you do things in training and it works in games the players buy into it and believe.
Overall we can now look at the table in a different way because now we have lost one in seven which is not a bad start.
I am the type of person who likes to accept responsibility when it doesn’t go well because I am in charge and I pick the team. Of course when you make hard decisions like today – leaving Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson out. It is nice when it works because it shows that Fletch was doing something in training in the past two weeks that we needed.
Last year that partnership was largely made by Fabio Borini and Connor Wickham at the end of the season with Johnson standing out, but today it was Connor and Fletch, which is fantastic for us because it creates a situation where you know the role of every player.
Look at the last goal with Connor because you do not see many players with the power and ability to go past so many people and pull it back. Maybe two years ago Connor would try and shoot from there but today he had the strength and the quality to pull it back, which is something everybody can see is improving.
It is a very good start. Every single game has been very competitive and we have had chances to win in every single one. We needed to score two or three and have a very good weekend so we will keep believing in what we do and if we take our chances it will be a great season for us.
Thanks for your support,
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