Honesty the best policy as Chris Coleman addresses Sunderland goalkeeping woes

Robbin Ruiter
Robbin Ruiter

Honesty is the best policy for Chris Coleman when it comes to solving Sunderland’s goalkeeping woes.

Neither Jason Steele nor current No 1 Robbin Ruiter have impressed since arriving in the summer, with the Dutchman at fault for both goals in the 2-2 weekend draw with Millwall.

Coleman kept faith with Ruiter for the trip to Villa Park and he repaid him with a more assured display, though he did fumble one corner under little pressure.

Solving the crisis of confidence between the sticks remains a key issue for the new manager.

He insists he will look to improve the pair on the training ground and says everyone at Sunderland is in it together.

The former Wales boss added it is up to individual players to prove they want to improve and help Sunderland get out of relegation danger.

On the goalkeepers, Coleman said: “I’ll be honest with them and look at the mistakes they’re making and try to improve them on the training pitch and as individuals.

“It’s no good saying to them, “that’s not good enough”.

“We can all look at someone who has made a mistake and point the finger but what are we going to do to help them, to improve them?

“It’s not just them, we’re all in it together – keeper, defenders, midfielders, forwards.

“All in it together.

“We have to improve them as individuals and show them where they can improve and let’s see if they want to improve, if they are up for the challenge of representing Sunderland and trying to move the club forward.”

Ruiter arrived on a free in the summer after a successful trial, while ex-Boro keeper Steele was signed from League One club Blackburn.

Sunderland have shipped 35 goals in 18 Championship games this season, on average conceding just short of two goals a game.

The Black Cats have the joint worst defence in the division, along with Saturday’s opponents, Burton Albion.

Sunderland are bottom of the Championship heading into the game away to Nigel Clough’s third-bottom side.