Phil Parkinson has won just two out of six games since replacing Jack Ross as the manager of League One Sunderland?

Sunderland’s executive director Charlie Methven has blamed the Black Cats’ ‘bewildering’ wastefulness for their slow start to life under Phil Parkinson, while speaking to the Chronicle.

The sleeping giants were hoping that former Bolton Wanderers boss Parkinson would immediately shake them into life when he replaced Jack Ross in the dugout last month, but progress has been frustratingly slow so far.

A 5-0 thrashing of Tranmere Rovers, Sunderland’s biggest league win since the Roy Keane era over a decade ago, looks like a false dawn with the Wearsiders losing to Shrewsbury Town, Oxford United and Leicester City’s U21s in their last four matches in all competitions.

Results only tell half the story, however, and the perennial underachievers certainly look a more exciting team these days with Parkinson introducing a more forceful, attacking style after the draw-filled yawn-fest that was the Ross regime.

And Methven believes that only a lack of killer instinct, plus some dodgy refereeing decisions, is holding Sunderland back.

“In the last three away matches Sunderland have hit the woodwork no few than six times. In those three games our opponents haven’t hit a post or crossbar once, and indeed have scored one goal each from a total of around six chances over 270 minutes of football,” Methven says.

“We have been denied blatant penalties, and found a bewildering number of ways not to convert an array of clear chances.”

Parkinson has not been helped by the ongoing malaise of Will Grigg, the £4 million centre-forward whose scored two goals in 19 games all season and fired a penalty over the bar in the EFL Cup shoot-out defeat to Oxford.

But if Grigg, not to mention Charlie Wyke and Marc McNulty, can find some semblance of form then promotion will not be out of the question just yet.

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