Simon Grayson: We need the whole team to tighten up defensively

Defender Billy Jones comes under pressure in Tuesday's 5-2 defeat at Ipswich. Picture by Frank Reid
Defender Billy Jones comes under pressure in Tuesday's 5-2 defeat at Ipswich. Picture by Frank Reid

Sunderland have the joint second-worst defensive record in the Championship, having shipped 19 goals in 10 games.

Boss Simon Grayson knows the side has to quickly put an end to leaking soft goals, but he insists the fault doesn’t just lie with the defence – the responsibility to tighten up defensively rests with the whole team.

Ahead of today’s trip to Preston, Grayson added: “It isn’t just defenders. If you are asking a wide player to stop the full-back crossing the ball then they have to do that job.

“The Cardiff goal (last week), a midfielder doesn’t stay with the runner.

“You can spend 30 hours on the training pitch, but if people lose concentration on the pitch then that is down to their own individual performance.”

The Sunderland squad and coaching staff have analysed the heavy midweek Ipswich defeat and Grayson welcomes players holding their own mini-inquests.

“The trip home, everybody was quiet,” added Grayson.

“We came in on Wednesday and had a chat about a few things. It is our job to get a spring back into our step and say to the players ‘we are not far away’. The players have trained well.

“It is good that the players are taking responsibility too. We had a meeting after the game and in training, as we do when we win or draw.

“If the players are talking amongst themselves too then that can only be helpful and iron out some issues. We have to put it all into practice.”