domenica 19 gennaio 2014
Two subs redeem Sunderland
An impressive second-half effort made Sunderland able to secure an unlikely point after their felt two goals down against Southampton. "A very good point," said manager Gus Poyet. And the second good news of the week for the Uruguayan after he won the war against former Sunderland's director of football, Roberto De Fanti. Credit to Poyet for changing the home side after first-half woes by introducing midfielders Jack Colback and Craig Gardner. Both made a big impact in turning the game. With Southampton monopolizing ball control, Sunderland rarely touched the ball while Southampton’s pressing never allowed Ki Sung-Yeung and Lee Cattermole to threaten Mauricio Pochettino’s side. As result, Sunderland struggled to win the ball and gave it away easily. But Southampton’s forwards spurned good scoring chances to score the third goals: it allowed Sunderland to regain confidence after a first half of the game spent sitting too deep in their own half. After the break, Poyet totally deconstructed the midfield replacing Cattermole and Sebastian Larsson with Gardner and Colback. They made Sunderland able to press higher up winning the ball interceptions in more advanced areas with Southampton no longer dictating the tempo. Gardner ended his game performing a high of 82% in pass accuracy. He also made 4 tackles and 2 assists, the first one for Fabio Borini’s disallowed goal and the second for Adam Johnson’s right-foot shot that beat Artur Boruc. Colback produced an impressive 100% of pass accuracy out from the 6 touches he played. With this moves Poyet changed the game and Sunderland grab oxygen gaining a point out of nothing. Maybe Gardner and Colback cannot play well every week but both are no more expendable like they was appearing under Paolo Di Canio previous regime. Poyet will no doubt be concerned and unhappy about his team the first half performance as it was so woeful but can appreciate his team's character and the great performance showed by his midfield’s pair.