Sunderland Head Coach, Lee Johnson, met the media after our disappointing draw against Gillingham.
“I’m frustrated because it was naivety in the final five or six minutes. We have generally been good at dealing with long balls into the penalty area. We obviously didn’t have Bailey Wright, so you lose that organiser and talker in there, they had a line of five and we had a line of four for the goal – work that out. That is the boys needing to organise it in that situation. We gave away too many free-kicks. You know it’s coming in [to the box] so why bother? You might as well force them into showing their quality rather than allowing them to lump a long high ball directly down our throat. The disappointing thing is we hadn’t dealt it – they had hit the post from a long throw, so we had had the warning. That’s when you need communicators and you need characters. We expect these players to do that, as a club we have to deal with moments in the game better than we did today. We gave away too many fouls, played into the opposition hands. If you don’t get the quality into the box at the other end, and it wasn’t just the wingers, then that is what can happen [you drop points]. There were too many times we got to the elbow of the box and didn’t produce the quality. We have to finish teams off. Styles don’t bother me; we have to deal with it. We were unfortunate we didn’t finish that today.”
LJ also gave a transfer window update, having brought Jake Vokins and Jordan Jones in yesterday and had a bid accepted for Ross County striker Ross Stewart. “We try to add quality continuously, we hope these lads we bring in can do that. I don’t know if the third one [Stewart] has actually happened yet. As far as incomings are concerned, I think we would be done if we got three. Outgoings-wise, we’ll have wait and see but we will have to trim the squad to make it competitive, but not to the extent that players don’t feel they will get game time. Will Grigg brings nothing into the salary cap, let me tell you, so that makes no odds. I’d be more than happy to have Will here, but it does then become a case of how many strikers we have. Will wants to play every game, he wants to be closer to his family who are in Stafford, and we are probably going to have to accommodate that on this occasion if we get that extra man in. I haven’t been involved in the Grigg negotiations. I’ve had two days preparing for this game.”
Finally, LJ spoke about why Chris Maguire was absent from the matchday squad against Gillingham, which fuelled speculation that he could leave. “I just couldn’t get everybody in [the squad].”