Tony Mowbray: Sunderland boss rues missed first half chances against Blackpool

Tony Mowbray showing frustration from the Sunderland technical area.
Tony Mowbray showing frustration from the Sunderland technical area.

SUNDERLAND head coach Tony Mowbray saw signs of the way he wants his side to play in the first half but admits a lack of killer instinct killed them

The Black Cats battled their way to a successive home draw at the Stadium of Light against Blackpool and missed the chance to climb back into the Championship play-offs.

Strikerless Sunderland handed Amad Diallo the task of leading the attack but the Ivorian was unable to find a way through a rigid defence, particularly in the first half with a flurry of chances from across the team. That provided a source of encouragement for the manager as he said: “The level we want to play at is what you saw first half. Playing the ball forward, driving into space, running beyond, putting the ball in the box. The intensity out of possession to win it back quickly was everything we work on.”

However, Blackpool worked their back into the game after the break and caught Sunderland on the back foot. “It looked as if we ran out of legs in the second half” he continued. “The intensity wasn’t there to win the ball out of possession and give us the impetus to do what we can do well. You hope the changes spark it up and yet it didn’t really tonight. They have in the past when these young lads have come in.

“Tonight was a difficult night in the last half an hour of the game. It was amazing to see us defending set plays like we did and put our body on the line. You can lose them games 1-0 from a set play and the opportunity is gone.

“We are frustrated that we didn’t score a goal or two in the first half, we’ll have to put the point in the bag. It’s frustrating because that’s twice I’ve sat here and said that. Clean sheet is a positive of course but home games, we want to win and keep the fans engaged with the team. It became difficult second half.”

With Sunderland pushing for a late winner, Charlie Maxwell produced an outstanding stop to deny Jack Clarke. The Black Cats boss added: “We could have won it right at the death. Jack Clarke’s header at point blank range which the keeper stopped but we have to accept it.”

Whilst there is an air of frustration and missed opportunity that Sunderland are walking away from two home games with two points rather than six, Mowbray was happy that the fans stuck with them throughout the evening.

He adeed: “We hope the fans can see where the team is going and what they are trying to do. For the majority of the game, you have to accept at times you are going to be on the back foot against teams in the Championship because they can play. They’ve all got individuals who can play good football and in spells, you have to show resilience. I thought we did that as well.”