The Poyet error which hurt Sunderland against Fulham

Sunderland went with three defensive-minded midfielders at the weekend.

Sunderland's defensive mentality under Gus Poyet was shown this weekend when the Uruguayan decided to select Liam Bridcutt, Jack Rodwell and Sebastian Larsson to play in central-midfield.

The Black Cats took on Fulham at home in the FA Cup but they did not banish their cautious approach, even against lower league opposition, and that has to be a concern.

Sunderland have struggled for goals this season, but a game against Fulham at the Stadium of Light was surely the perfect opportunity for Poyet to remove the shackles on his side and allow them to win over a disgruntled fan-base.

By selecting three central-midfielders, who are not particularly attacking, the Sunderland boss stifled his side's play, though, and the pressure is beginning to build on him.

Larsson was the most attack-minded of the trio of starting midfielders, but he is not the sort of player to unlock doors with majorly creative play.

Instead, the feel of the team was more workmanlike than flamboyant and it is hardly surprising that a 0-0 draw was all that they could achieve.

With Sunderland scoring just 19 goals in 22 Premier League games this is a persistent problem for the side and one that Poyet must address by simply showing a greater willingness to take risks in his managerial style.

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