Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Talking Up Side, but Boss Must Look Down

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Talking Up Side, but Boss Must Look Down

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER Sports writer

CHRIS Coleman praised his players, criticised the referee and insisted his club can still escape relegation, but the reality is Sunderland look doomed to be playing in League One next season. With Barnsley's match at Nottingham Forest postponed because of a waterlogged pitch and Birmingham City not playing at Bolton Wanderers until today, the Black Cats absolutely had to back up their excellent 4-1 victory at Derby County with a win at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

They put in a good performance, if not to the standards they set at Pride Park, but were once more undone by poor defending. A 3-1 defeat, combined with Burton Albion's 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough leaves them five points from safety with only six games to play. Birmingham and Barnsley have seven each.

With the picture so bleak, Coleman was clinging to the fact that, in the main, he was quite pleased with the display.

"I wasn't disappointed with the overall performance, it was much more like it," he commented. "I was disappointed with two of the goals we gave away.

"Before they got possession of the ball we had opportunities to clear the danger and we didn't and we were punished.

"Overall it would be difficult to say to the players, 'That's not it.' "It was much more like it. If you look at the stats over the 90 minutes we had 20-odd shots (21, to Wednesday's seven), we had 10 corners, they had one.

"We had much more possession but it was one of those games where you come off and think, 'How have we lost that 3-1?' But it was no points.

"I'd much rather play really badly and win 1-0. Over the weekend there's been nothing wrong with the performances but we needed a result and didn't get it."

George Honeyman's header from a Lynden Gooch cross quickly cancelled out Sheffield Wednesday's opener, scored by Lucas Joao. But they surrendered the lead again, giving Tom Lees space to volley in at a free-kick. …

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