Not A Good Night

Sunderland lost 2-1 in Trophy against Leicester City Under-21s. Phil Parkinson, who made eight changes had this to say afterwards: “The main thing with this Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday period of cup games is to look at everybody so we can build up a picture for January,” said Parkinson. “That is the key for us really. It’s been a disappointing night. We got off to a great start, but it’s a big learning curve for myself. We’ve changed the team around and pieced the team together to give players an opportunity, but two things stood out. The team were too open out of possession, exactly how we don’t want to be, we looked vulnerable in terms of the counter-attack, and then secondly, we played backwards too many times. Since I’ve been here, we’ve spoken about penetrating the opposition and getting shots and crosses in, but we played backwards too often. Possession is good, but it’s got to be possession with a purpose, and I felt we went away from what we’ve been doing. It was vastly different personnel in the team, lads we haven’t done a great deal of team play with, but when you’re on the touchline and it’s almost like a 4-2-4 out of possession, it’s a hell of a big pitch to try to cover and you can get exposed. Even against a young team, that’s not the way to play here.”

Parkinson took the blame for the poor performance, but also felt that players looked tired. “I picked a team that was very open and we got exposed at times,” he said. “Two or three are very low in terms of match fitness and that probably showed. We’ve got to kind of accept that. We played Alim (Ozturk) and he’s come off injured, (Laurens) de Bock, who was playing his first game for a few weeks after being injured, and McGeouch hasn’t played for a while as well. We just left ourselves exposed. That was the team I picked, and when you’re on the touchline thinking, ‘We look exposed against a young team’, it just shows you that in league football, you can’t leave yourselves open like that. I’m really disappointed for Ozturk. He's had a full week's training and it’s disappointing. I don’t know the extent of it yet, I just know it’s his hamstring and I’ll find out later."