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Sunderland boss Alex Neil reveals thoughts after Sheffield Wednesday play-off win

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It’s advantage to Sunderland in the League One play-off semi-finals so far, with the Black Cats beating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 last night thanks to a Ross Stewart goal.

It means that the two sides go into the second leg with Sunderland able to sit back and play the way that they like, knowing that they already have a one goal cushion.

Alex Neil has now spoken out after the victory to The Star and believes the reason he was able to see off their opponents in the first leg of the fixture is because of the fact he set his side up more offensively to take the game to Wednesday.

Quiz: What club do these 25 players from the Sunderland 2016/17 squad play for now?

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1. Jordan Pickford

Sunderland might not have even been in this position had it not been for their new boss stepping in midway through the campaign. Lee Johnson had helped the side climb into the top six but results had begun to tail off and with fears that the Black Cats could fall out of promotion contention, the side decided to part ways with their manager.

In came Alex Neil and Sunderland have lost only one game since he became boss and the side have now secured a spot in the play-offs. The semi-final fixture is now in their hands too, with the club taking a 1-0 lead into the second leg.

Now, Neil has spoken out after the result and revealed what he thinks the deciding factor could have been in securing the result – and he feels it could be the club deciding to be more offensive against Wednesday, rather than playing the fixture with an air of caution and ensuring they don’t lose.

Speaking to The Star about it, he said: “We went into the game strategy v strategy against Sheffield Wednesday, rather than matching them up.

“I think most people were probably surprised that we went with a back four – but at the moment we need to do what we need to do. What you can’t afford to do against teams like Sheffield Wednesday is be cagey – you need to be really offensive, and try to scare them. I think that’s what we did.”

The Verdict

Alex Neil has certainly got the upper hand over Darren Moore in the play-off battle so far, with the side taking a lead into the second leg.

Sunderland have been excellent since the new manager came in and transformed their fortunes. They have been one of the most in-form teams, have been hard to beat and many will now fancy them to finally climb their way back into the Championship after a lengthy hiatus.

Wednesday are certainly not out of the contest yet though and they will now be prepared for Neil’s game plan and what he intends to throw at the club. Moore will be better prepared on Monday and that could mean he too could take the game to the Black Cats in order to get the result.

This contest is certainly not over yet – and it will be interesting to see who makes it to Wembley and the play-off final.


Writer for Football League World.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Sunderland boss Alex Neil reveals thoughts after Sheffield Wednesday play-off win

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