Former Sunderland manager Peter Reid explained on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast Show for talkSPORT what he’d be telling the team if he was still in charge.
Reid gave some advice to current manager Gus Poyet live on air as the Black Cats look to start scoring more goals and securing some important points.
“I think they need to try and play more direct – with players like Wickham and Steven Fletcher, they need to mix it up a bit,” said Reid.
“Get the ball out wide and get an early cross into the box.”
Sunderland have some very good players in terms of speed and technique who are well suited to a pass and move style of football, based around possession being on the deck.
However, sometimes teams need to show the versatility and intelligence to realise when a game plan isn’t working and when there’s a need to get possession forward as quickly as possible.
Wickham and Fletcher are both well suited to being able to hold the ball back and bring other players into the game.
There’s no harm in exploiting that, but Poyet has to be careful that his team don’t become overly reliant on long ball football.
It’s about finding a balance and trying to do something a bit different, which kick starts something positive, gets the side a goal and creates some momentum over the next few weeks.