Pete Sixsmith is there more often that not, saving the occasional delights and absorbing the much more common disappointments of being a Sunderland supporter. Not on Saturday, which found him on the Sixsmith Towers sofa …
Malcolm Dawson writes…….two wins on the bounce had put a bit of colour back into the cheeks of an ailing Sunderland side but we all knew that there is still a long way to go before recovery is complete. Today was a tough test but we started well enough. Organised and disciplined with PvA once again sticking one in. (I shall never tire of using that pun.) But I’m afraid conceding so quickly after taking the lead is not a one off occurrence and it happened again today. Cattermole’s booking perhaps changed the course of the game. We might have had the rub of the referee’s decisions on Wednesday but was it a yellow card offence? Was there even any contact? Looking at it on TV it seemed minimal to say the least but this is Lee Cattermole we are talking about and Big Sam was probably trying to avoid him picking up a second. Rodwell presumably was meant to be a like for like replacement, but why bring on a third centre back and change a system that had looked to be working at that stage? To give Danny Graham his due he had worked hard all game and covered the left back position well. Swapping him for a new signing, short of match practice made little sense. It didn’t take long for The Hoff to make an impression – twice! In his post match e-mail to M Salut and one or two others, the manager makes reference to the ages of the starting centre backs but left both of them on whilst bringing on a third. He thinks we shot ourselves in the foot. Maybe we did but I wonder who he thinks loaded the gun!
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 SUNDERLAND 1
To concede 40 seconds after we scored is the biggest disappointment for me today.
We did most things right defensively up until then and we’d scored a superb goal before we went and shot ourselves in the foot. Had we gone in at half time with the score at 1-0 I think it could have been a different game.
We did tire towards the end and our energy was diminishing, but ultimately we’ve been beaten by a very good team.
We gave the goals away far too easy; we should have been a lot tighter.
I made changes as I thought our legs were running out and I wanted us to stay in the game, it’s the aftermath of three big away games and it was to be expected. John O’Shea and Wes Brown are both in their 30s and were maybe feeling it a little bit, I brought on another defender to try and tighten it up.
It was [Jan] Kirchhoff’s first-ever game in the Premier League, it had to happen at some stage and it was always going to be a risk, he needs to get up to speed with the pace of the game and learn quickly.
However, I think our problem today was leaving ourselves open. After we scored, we just let Spurs run right through us and we conceded. We weren’t a tight compact unit like we should have been.
[Jordan]Pickford is a good lad, he’s gained plenty of experience out on loan and that’s helped him a great deal. He came in and he looked very comfortable for someone of his age. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.
Thanks for your support,
No Sixer at the match today, though he was watching, somewhere, and still provided the instant, seven-word verdict. Once again a shot from PVA ended up in the back of the net and this time there was no deflection, just a powerful low finish to a peach of a defence-splitting pass from Adam Johnson. The lead typically lasted all of 90 seconds when Lee Cattermole ‘got into a tangle’, to borrow from Jake’s description, and turned a manageable goal line clearance into a clumsy own goal. In the second half, bad substitutions by Big Sam produced a nightmarish debut for Jan Kirkhoff and, as team shape disintegrated, Spurs got another three to ruin all the work done earlier …
Monsieur Salut’s school record is littered with stern, sarky or downright contemptuous remarks from teachers and headmasters. ‘Could do better’, ‘doesn’t concentrate’, ‘not good enough for this school’. That kind of thing. So DeAndre Yedlin should take heart and learn from what follows, Charles Richards of The Spurs Report’s Q&A with Pete Sixsmith on how he’s done on loan at Sunderland. Mind, M Salut never took heed of the school reports so maybe that’s a big ask …
Here’s a man with no special desire to cultivate friendships among Sunderland fans. Charles Richards*, self-confessed posh Durham Uni type, responded to our request for a Tottenham Hotspur interviewee in a manner calculated to wind us all up. Loves Newcastle United, contemptuous of SAFC. He certainly wound up our star writer Pete Sixsmith, as you’ll see later today or tomorrow, but assures us it’s ‘all in the spirit of banter’. Charles runs his own fan site thespursreport and writes for another, The Tottenham Way. Now prepare to be offended …
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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Deputy Editor Malcolm Dawson writes…Another frustrating evening at the Stadium of Light saw another defeat and to my eyes a squad of players who just aren’t good enough to compete with the better sides of the Premier League. The good news is that they are probably good enough to compete with the poorer sides and avoid the drop but today’s results from the other grounds did us few favours. The manager in his post match e-mail also seems to be struggling to explain things whilst having a grasp on reality.
It’s difficult to analyse the game because we were solid, we were trying to play and we scored a good goal. Then we conceded at maybe the wrong time but the second-half was very disappointing. Things happen in football and you never know the consequences – it’s a totally different game if you come in at half-time 1-0. Saying that, we talked about things at half-time and I wanted to go out in the second-half and perform because we were playing against a very good team.
Somehow again we conceded an own goal and then it was too open – we needed to go forward and create something somehow and then we leave space at the back.
At the moment it’s very difficult for the players. That’s the way I understand football and that’s the way I would like this team to play football. I’ve said it a few times and I will repeat it now, we cannot do it for long periods. That’s what we try to change, that’s why we give different options, that’s why we finish playing a little more direct, that’s why we changed the personnel.
We’re trying, nobody can say that we are not trying and the players are trying their best but the table is there and like I always say the table doesn’t lie. Other teams are winning somehow and we don’t, so there’s nothing to complain about. Every single game that comes now is bigger than the one before, we need urgency, we need men, we need people on the pitch who can take it.
We’ll train all week and we’re going to keep trying to make them understand things and try to put it on the pitch on Saturday.
All the best,
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Salut! Sunderland’s Pete Sixsmith can remember the time when the transfer window was just an empty space covered in an old potato sack. Now the latest window has been closed, Peter gives his thoughts on the last minute activity that brought a further three players into the club …
The great day has gone and Sky Sports can put Jim White back in the cupboard until the end of January. The gossip columns go quiet for a couple of weeks before the next batch of rumours start, while the Football League loan market opens next week. And to think that I once thought that the transfer window was a good idea!
Spurs fans came here in numbers, and also butted in at Monsieur Salut!s ESPN pages, to dismiss the result as a function of Sunderland fielding their best side – they haven’t heard the name Steven Fletcher – against a bunch of under-9s. Were they as weakened as the SAFC team that nearly snatched a point at Tottenham’s pleasant little stadium in May? Pete Sixsmith puts them in their place and administers a roasting to Sky’s drearily anti-Sunderland pundit …
A new title and a new-look Sunderland team are the orders of the day as Paolo Di Canio‘s first full season of post-match verdicts, as delivered in his over-so-exclusive e-mail to Monsieur Salut (and maybe tens of thousands of others), approaches. Thrilled with the performance that brought 3-1 victory over Spurs, PDC points out that we’ve achieved nowt just yet …