Alan Shearer says Sunderland players have worrying lack of concentration

Christian Benteke scores the late winner
Christian Benteke scores the late winner

Alan Shearer says Sunderland’s lack of concentration in games is a real cause for concern.

The former Newcastle United and England striker couldn’t believe what he was seeing as the Black Cats threw away a two-goal lead at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Christain Benteke’s injury-time header won the game for Palace to continue Sunderland’s poor run of conceding late goals.

Shearer said: “As a Newcastle fan I don’t mean to rub salt into the wounds but blimey Sunderland!

“You are 2-0 up at home against a worthy but mid-table opponent and you cannot see the game out.

“The late concession of goals suggests a real lack of concentration.

“Three times they have conceded in the final five minutes this season costing them four points.”

Benteke, meanwhile, laid the blame for his winner firmly at Sunderland’s decision to adopt a zonal marking system for the injury-time free-kick.

The Belgian striker was left with a free run and header in the closing stages of the game.

And speaking on Goals on Sunday, Benteke said the tactic deployed by David Moyes’ side ‘surprised’ him – and made it ‘easy’ for him to score.

He said: “Yeah, I was surprised, because obviously it was probably the last chance of the game, and as soon as I saw the defenders marking zonal, I knew I was going to get my chances.

“I think it’s the easy way to defend. It’s an easy way to defend for the defender, and it’s an easy way to attack for the attacker.”