Sunderland playmaker Aiden McGeady has insisted that the Black Cats have to be seeing out games in scenarios where they are 2-0 up like at Fleetwood Town on Saturday if they want to earn promotion.
Lee Johnson’s side headed into the game at Fleetwood aiming to keep themselves on top of the League One table and lay down another marker over their promotion credentials at the start of the campaign.
The Black Cats had won their last three fixtures in the league heading into their trip to Fleetwood.
After McGeady’s penalty in the 76th minute had put them two goals up it looked like they were on their way to making it four successive victories.
However, Sunderland dropped back and invited too much pressure on their goal in the final ten minutes or so of the contest.
That enabled Fleetwood to build some momentum and put some pressure on the Black Cats and they were rewarded by pulling the game level at 2-2 and taking a point.
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That result saw Sunderland drop back down to second place behind Wigan Athletic and it will be a frustration that they will need to bounce back from swiftly.
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Speaking to Chronicle Live, McGeady questioned whether Sunderland have what it takes to earn promotion after they failed to see out the game. While he also insisted that they have to be winning games like that comfortably if they are to go up.
He said: “The way we handled the last 10 minutes of the game wasn’t good enough from when we went 2-0 up, which is the hardest thing to do.
“We go 2-0 up and we think we’ll see the game out easily enough here because the last few weeks, we won 2-1 last week and have managed to go on a winning run.
“I just thought the way we handled the last ten minutes of the game was really poor.
“We should be winning games 1-0 in this league, 2-0, 3-0, 3-1. But you don’t want to be having to go into every game having to score three goals to win a game.
“It’s not conducive to trying to get promoted is it?
“Saying that we scored two on Saturday and still only came away with a point and like I said it was the manner of the draw which was the frustrating thing for everyone.
“It feels like a defeat and I’m sure it does for the fans as well. That’s how it felt in the dressing room.
“It’s just really disappointing because I can’t stress any more that I thought when we went 2-0 up it was comfort zone.”
Sunderland have been frustrated in the race for promotion from League One in each of the last three seasons.
You can therefore see why McGeady is keen to ensure that the squad maintains the highest standards this term after they threw away a 2-0 lead at Fleetwood.
Those are the sorts of games that you expect the team at the top of the League One table to be seeing out really. Sunderland can not afford to be letting two points slip away from them in the fashion that they did on Saturday too often.
At the moment, Sunderland seem to have no problem in scoring goals going forwards and that is a major positive.
While the fact that they are not as heavily reliant on McGeady as they have been in past seasons is another sign that this term could be different for the Black Cats.
Having said that, winning promotion is all about how you handle setbacks in matches and see out games when in comfortable positions.
Therefore, having to score three goals to win a game is not going to be something that will get them over the line in the promotion race.
It is now all going to be about how Sunderland react to that setback against Fleetwood and they need to show the right reaction to suggest that it was just a blip rather than a real issue.