Gary Rowell highlights worrying aspect of Sunderland’s play

Rowell is worried about the confidence in the Sunderland squad.

The Black Cats are struggling for survival in the Premier League, and club icon Gary Rowell has told the Sunderland Echo that conceding goals is ruining the little confidence left in the squad.

“Going a goal down kills Sunderland,” Rowell said. “Their fragile confidence nose-dives and the opposition can’t believe their luck.

“Saturday’s defeat [to Crystal Palace] was just like the Aston Villa horror show all over again, the only difference being it took Palace longer to get the opening goal, but once they did, we saw the same capitulation and it was game over.”

After holding out as well as they did for the entire first-half, it took just 14 minutes for Palace to gain complete domination over Sunderland. Glenn Murray opened the scoring on 48 minutes, and then the Black Cats collapsed in incredible fashion, and Yannick Bolasie netted an 11-minute hat-trick.

It is the kind of effect that was shown under Gus Poyet, and looked to have been solved under Advocaat, but he has yet to be placed in this same situation - prior to the Palace fixture.

In the loss to West Ham it took until the dying minutes for Diafra Sakho to open the scoring, whilst they held on against a poor Newcastle side to not concede.

The Hammers were not afforded time to run riot, and Newcastle could not get that first goal to worry Advocaat’s men.

To solve this problem, it could be suggested that the Black Cats should try as hard as they can to net the opening goal to guarantee the confidence picks up, rather than sitting deep and playing for a draw.

However, they have some games coming up against some rampant goalscoring sides, and their lack of ability to take the lead in games could see their confidence shattered - and their place in the Premier League slide away.

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