Phil Parkinson reflected on the 2-2 draw at Rochdale, the gaffer hopes to restore Sunderland’s watertight defence which had only conceded one before the Lads met Portsmouth last weekend and then the trip to Spotland which saw us conceded 5 goals in a few days.
The Boss post Rochdale
"I'm disappointed with the two goals we conceded tonight, of course I am, but from the start of the season, the points return has been decent. The one criticism has been that we have not converted enough of our chances. I believe we will do that because we have the strikers - and the midfielders who can chip in - but while we have been waiting for the goals to come, the bedrock of the team has been in our defensive third. I've just said to the lads that they need to make sure that is in place, don't let the frustration of not killing teams off and converting chances stop us defending properly. Prior to the Portsmouth game we were doing so well, we'd only conceded one goal all season, but there was an undercurrent of 'we've got to score, we've got to score'. I absolutely 100% believe that we've got goals in the team. People said we should get this player or that player, but we have good front players. We just have to make sure we give them a defensive platform so that when they do score goals, it is to win games of football. I wanted a bit of freshness. Grant (Leadbitter) and Josh (Scowen) have been excellent for us, two of our best players. Prior to getting into the team at Oxford, Grant hadn't played a lot of football for a long time and I just felt that after playing three games in seven days, and this fourth one came quickly. Josh has run himself into the ground and we have good players to come in, and George (Dobson) stepped in and did well tonight. And it was a shape we know well, we played it in pre-season and it worked so well against Rochdale at home (in February) where we had the front three working hard and pressing high up the pitch. It gives the opposition something to think about and I thought we looked a decent side in the second half in particular. We looked a bit rusty in that shape in the early part of the game but we still scored two goals and looked a threat, then we completely dominated the half and we should be standing here talking about three points. But in terms of the performance level, imposing ourselves on the opposition as we have done for the majority of the season - Portsmouth was the first time we went away from that - I thought it was a good all-round performance and we were disappointed not to get three points."
Parky on Charlie Wyke
“You're not going to get too many better centre-forward performances than that tonight; he scored a goal, had a good chance in the second half, led the line well, and ran himself into the ground for the team. I've said to him that the boxes he has to tick are to hold the ball up when we are in possession, stretch teams, be reliable when the ball comes up to him, and the goals and the chances will come on the back of that. Earlier in the season he was frustrated that he wasn't scoring, and the rest of his game wasn't in place for the team for him to be able to score. Now we are seeing him take confidence from doing all the basic things well, and he is getting the goals on the back of that."
PP on Dion Sanderson
"Dion will get better and better, everybody who knows centre-half positions knows that you need a centre-half who can join in play, to make the extra man in midfield, to create those overloads in wide areas, and he did that well tonight. He will get fitter, but it was a good debut, to make our system work, we have to have players who can step in with the ball and create three-versus-twos in wide areas. When he first came in he'd had a scan on his groin and had missed some training so he is still getting fitter. It was a little bit of a gamble throwing him in tonight but he is an accomplished player who has played in the Championship, and he handled it well. I hope that's OK, He just caught a nerve and couldn't feel his knee for a few seconds, which is always a worry. But it shows his toughness that he wanted to stay on, and we are pleased with him as a signing. He gives us good pace and athleticism.”