Alex Neil credits tactical switch for Sunderland comeback victory over Bristol City | OneFootball
Alex Neil credits tactical switch for Sunderland comeback victory over Bristol City
Football League World
Alex Neil has credited a half time tactical switch as being the reason behind Sunderland’s improved second half performance.
The Black Cats took an early lead against Bristol City courtesy of a dream debut goal for Ellis Simms after only four minutes.
But Nigel Pearson’s side pulled two goals back to take a 2-1 lead after the 51st minute through Andreas Weimann and Chris Martin respectively.
Simms equalised for Neil’s side just two minutes later before Ross Stewart secured all three points with the fifth and final goal of the game on the 72nd minute.
The Sunderland boss believes that the team showed greater bravery in the second half and that their greater aggression from the defence to step forward in the middle helped the team gain control of the game.
“We weren’t brave enough in the first half, we didn’t use the ball well enough, turned it too quickly,” said Neil, via Sunderland Echo
“We didn’t step up from the back to make sure we got the extra man in the middle. The lad Atkinson did that really well for them, we played as a flat three which we weren’t meant to.
“Once we stepped in front of them in the second half, drove the space and forced them to commit, we had the extra midfield player in there.
“When that happened, we dominated and we were able to get Jack Clarke a lot of the ball, whereas in the first half he was feeding off scraps really. Having said that, I said to him after that he has to do his job when we’re not on top.
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Neil believes this result will shape the perception of Sunderland’s return to the Championship. The Black Cats now have four points from six following their draw at home to Coventry City on the opening weekend of fixtures.
That has seen the team rise to an early 2nd place in the table, behind Blackburn Rovers. Up next for the squad is a League Cup tie with Sheffield Wednesday on August 10.
Sunderland showed great tenacity to earn a comeback victory on Saturday. But this is the second game in a row now where the team has been unable to hold onto taking a 1-0 lead.
There are still signs that improvements will be needed from the team, which Neil hasn’t shied away from.
Nevertheless this result gives the club a good platform to show that they can be competitive in the second division this season and it can help build momentum.
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