Sunderland are rooted to the bottom of the Championship, four points adrift of safety having won just once in 13 matches.
Their most recent outing at the Stadium of Light resulted in a 3-0 reverse against Aston Villa, the second time in as many home games they shipped three goals. Speaking to the Shields Gazette, Coleman revealed that his side must improve if they’re to avoid the drop.
“At home, if we tried to build and it breaks down, there’s a reaction and we start to play safe, we don’t want to disappoint people,” he said. “The supporters are staying with us but it is like replaying a bad movie. What do you expect? You get what you’re going to get.”
Birmingham and Bristol City have also scored three goals against the Black Cats recently as they ship goals at an alarming rate. Unsurprisingly, Coleman revealed the defending simply isn’t good enough.
“We never had a say against Villa and that upset me. We sat here after Bristol City, we conceded in the first five minutes, a simple pass into the box and we’re nowhere to be seen. We get back to 3-3 and we’re hitting each other out the way to head the ball. It doesn’t say a lot for us, as a group, me, the staff, the players, it doesn’t say a lot for us that we let that happen again.”
Sunderland now face two matches against promotion chasing teams, first Preston are the visitors before a trip to Derby County on Good Friday.
A home tie with Sheffield Wednesday rounds off the Easter weekend, after which the fate of the Black Cats will be much clearer.
The last dropped out of the top two divisions in 1986/87, the only time in their history they’ve found themselves in such a position.
Whilst it remains unthinkable that Sunderland could drop into League One next season, the prospect is looking increasingly likely.
They have two significant problems they’ve failed to address; they can’t defend and they struggle to score. Unfortunately those are the two fundamental elements of footballing success and it seems as though Chris Coleman has acknowledged that.
What a personal journey it will be for the manager, take Wales to a first major tournament in half a century in 2016, face taking Sunderland out of the top two divisions just two years later. Football is a cruel game at times.
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