Phil Parkinson reveals his biggest Sunderland concern following dismal Scunthorpe defeat
Phil Parkinson said his Sunderland squad will come through their current malaise, but admits his side is lacking in the final third.
The Black Cats barely tested Scunthorpe United goalkeeper Jake Eastwood as they fell to a dismal 3-0 defeat, ending their leasing.com trophy campaign at the group stage.
Marc McNulty was given the chance to lead the line after Will Grigg missed the game through illness, and though Parkinson defended the Reading loanee, his frustrations with the team’s inability to produce more in the final third were clear.
“We'll come through this, no doubt about that,” he said.
“We've got to stick together, get the players who are injured back quickly and put a team out that has got a real presence at the top of the pitch.
“That's not being critical of Sparky [Marc McNulty] tonight, it was a tough ask for him, I thought he worked very, very hrd and it nearly dropped for him a couple of times in that second half, but not quite.
“He needs some help up there and we need to help the team as well with getting some strength up there,” he added.
“We're not looking threatening enough at the top end of the pitch, we're just not.
“That is a key problem, personnel is against us in terms of the injuries we've got.
“Any team at any level is only as good as their strikeforce and that's frustrating coming here tonight, that we lack that punch, drive and bite in the final third.”
Supporters who travelled to watch the game sang ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ after two soft late goals were conceded to a side struggling at the bottom of League Two.
Parkinson said that anger was ‘understandable’ and said his side have to be better.
“The late goals were as frustrating as anything else on the night because it puts a very poor reflection on the result,” he said.
“There were some key moments (Luke O’Nien being denied a penalty early on and being sent off in what Parkinson said was a ‘contentious’ decision) that were pivotal as I've discussed.
“But we needed to be better in those moments.”