Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ditch the Doom and Gloom after Defeats; Defeat Does Not Mean Doom, Says Skipper

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ditch the Doom and Gloom after Defeats; Defeat Does Not Mean Doom, Says Skipper

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER Football writer stuart.rayner@reachplc.com @sturayner

GRANT Leadbitter says Sunderland have got to lose the negativity every time they suffer a defeat.

Losses have been rare under Jack Ross' management, with the Black Cats beaten in just six regular-season league games since he took charge in the summer of 2018. Manchester City and Liverpool were the only English league clubs defeated less often last season.

Sunderland went into the season's opening international break on the back of a first reverse of the 2019-20 campaign, eight matches into it, when they were beaten 3-0 at Peterborough United.

Captain Leadbitter was keen to avoid the sort of negativity that has helped exaggerate the club's fall from grace as it dropped from the Premier League to League One in consecutive seasons, but needs the help of supporters to find "the middle ground".

"There's no bad times," he insisted. "There's defeat, but no bad times. All this negativity around the football club that has been here the last 18 months - no.

"We've lost one game and it's all positive.

"We keep moving forward and sticking together is the main thing. That's the club itself, the fans, the players - we all stick together through wins and defeats. We kind of have to get that middle ground now. Things have calmed down at the football club now so we can get that middle ground."

Any lingering pessimism from the London Road defeat should at least have been tempered by the news that American billionaires MSD Partners are close to finalising a buyout of the club.

The passion of the Black Cats supporters and the level of scrutiny that comes with it is a blessing and a curse, magnifying the good times and the bad.

As a boyhood supporter now in his Turn to Page 73 FROM BACK PAGE second spell at the Stadium of Light, Leadbitter has understood the need to shut out the noise and keep his equilibrium. …

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