Sunderland suffered a humbling 5-1 defeat at the hands of Arsenal in the Carabao Cup quarter finals on Tuesday evening.
The Black Cats also lost in-form loanee Nathan Broadhead through injury to make it a pretty forgettable night in the capital overall. Sunderland’s up and down form in League One this season would suggest that confidence is quite fragile amongst the group, meaning that it is now down to Lee Johnson to ensure that the disappointment of the heavy defeat does not linger for too long.
Johnson explained how he and the players will reflect on the thrashing when he spoke to the Sunderland Echo.
He said: “I think that’s the right way to deal with it because what we can’t be doing is digging them out for every mistake, particularly every mistake against world class players when you play at this type of level.
“We will show them where they have come up short but we’ll also show them where they have implemented the philosophy. It’s the ying-yang, and we always try to weight it 85 per cent positive and 15 per cent things to improve on.”
The Black Cats have shown signs that they are back in the automatic promotion race in recent weeks, if they can take the positives out of their performance against Arsenal and source a good replacement for Broadhead then there is no reason why they cannot kick on in the third tier over the Christmas period.
Quiz: Have Sunderland signed a player from each of these 20 clubs in the last 5 seasons?
Arsenal have been on excellent form in the last couple of months and have consistently been putting some promising Premier League sides to the sword. Therefore, it is nothing to dwell on that the scoreline got away from them, from a Black Cats point of view, and being the only side outside of the top-flight left in the tournament is an impressive achievement in itself.
Sunderland had their moments with Alex Pritchard and Elliot Embleton looking bright, the latter has missed a large chunk of league action in the last couple of months and should increase the potency of the Wearside club’s attacking contingent in the coming weeks. Doncaster Rovers away on 27th December provides a great opportunity for Johnson’s men to put the result behind them and put the pressure back on second-placed Wigan Athletic.