Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson says he understands the frustrations of the club’s fan following their 2-1 defeat at home to Burton Albion on Tuesday night.
The Black Cats had taken the lead just before the 20-minute mark thanks to an Aiden McGeady penalty, only for Liam Boyce to equalise almost immediately for the Brewers, who went onto win the game thanks to Liam Boyce’s second-half strike.
That result means Sunderland have now lost six of their 11 games in all competitions under Parkinson, with the full-time whistle met with boos and chants of ‘getting sacked in the morning’ around the Stadium of Light following that latest defeat on Tuesday.
Speaking after the game, that is something Parkinson admitted he fully understands, with the Sunderland boss quoted by The Chronicle as saying: “We didn’t show enough conviction or character in our play and deservedly got booed off at the end.
“It’s understandable because at 65-70 minutes, there was still plenty of time left in the game and we didn’t show enough bravery to play, particularly at this stadium you have to show conviction and belief and we didn’t do that.”
Discussing whether or not the expectations of the club’s fans were fair, Parkinson continued: “Without doubt, yes. Absolutely.
“I accept totally the supporters’ reaction because for the last quarter of the game we were nowhere near good enough in terms of showing the courage to play, and if I was sat in the stand I would be hugely frustrated.
“When you wear the Sunderland shirt you have to have the courage to play whatever the state of the game, whether you are 2-1 down or 2-1 up or whatever it is, and we went away from that.”
Sunderland are not in action now until they take on Gillingham – who have already knocked the Black Cats out of the FA Cup on penalties in a replay earlier in Parkinson’s reign – on the 7th December, and looking ahead to the time away from the pitch his side now face, Parkinson added: “It’s going to be a long ten days after tonight, but we will utilise it and use it the right way and make sure that we go into the next game with a stronger mentality than we showed tonight.
“I’ve got teams promotion from this league, I’ve got teams in the play-offs, I’ve got teams automatic promotion, so I know what is required and we need to show more mental toughness.”
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Following Tuesday’s defeat, Sunderland are now 11th in League One, three points adrift of the play-offs and nine away from automatic promotion.
The pressure is clearly mounting on Parkinson.
This a pretty frank admission for the Sunderland manager to make, particularly given how early it is in his time in the role.
That being said, with results going the way they are, it would be hard to argue this in any other way, which would surely only serve to build frustrations even further amongst the fanbase.
Parkinson therefore needs results quickly, and the fact they now have ten days to simmer over this defeat before they return to action is unlikely to help him in that regard.