Sunderland boss stands by his keepers

Simon Grayson has defended his struggling goalkeepers after more criticism of summer signing Jason Steele.

Jason Steele
Jason Steele

Steele began the season as No 1 despite a torrid home debut in the friendly defeat to Celtic, before a superb Carabao Cup display from Robbin Ruiter seemed to signal a changing of the guard.

Grayson sprung a surprise by recalling Steele for the 5-2 defeat to Ipswich Town and his subsequent performances have come under scrutiny.

The Black Cats boss defended his display against QPR despite a soft first goal which saw the 27-year-old rooted to his line as Idrissa Sylla headed home.

Grayson said: “I think the goalkeepers have had a bit of a hard time.

“They’ve made mistakes, of course they have, but it’s not easy for them out there.

“It was very blustery at the weekend, and that can make it hard in certain areas with your kicking, but I thought Jason did make some good saves.

“There was one late on in the game that when you see it from behind, it takes a massive swerve.

“It was in the last four minutes, and while most people might have thought he would catch it, it took a massive swerve at the last second and he did well to get anything on it. I think he made some vital saves for us when they were needed, and I think Jason can be pleased with his performance.”

Ruiter will be pushing for a recall against Brentford but Grayson says he is looking for improvement from both of his goalkeepers.

He said: “Does he need to improve? Of course he does. But does every other player need to improve too? Of course they do.

“We need to get B pluses or A minuses to get to where we want to get to.”