Sunderland boss Lee Johnson makes Stadium of Light pitch admission after woeful Lincoln City defeat
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Johnson admitted he was left baffled by a Stadium of Light pitch that was left borderline waterlogged after being heavily watered in the immediate build up to the game, which will be reviewed.
But the head coach said there were no excuses for his side’s lacklustre performance, as Lincoln City ran out 3-1 winners.
Chris Maguire scored a hat-trick, celebrating his first goal in front of Johnson’s dugout.
“We've lost the opportunity of three important points,” Johnson said.
"We win together and lose together, none of us produced a good enough performance tonight.
“That's disappointing because it was there for us, certain elements of the game did go against us but you've to give Lincoln credit for their game plan and executing it, particularly the first goal which changed a lot.
“I don't want to make excuses.
“We've asked a lot of the boys of late but we had prepared well.
“We just started sloppy, too many players taking too many touches,” he added.
“We played into their game plan and in caused poor attitudes and poor body language too early in the game. Rather than change the picture we were showing our frustration on the ball, when you've got to change it, find another passing lane.
“We played into their hands.
“I suppose the boys maybe didn't want to go long, and there was maybe an opportunity to do that.
“We didn't have the football IQ that we normally have.
“Complacency would I think maybe be a fair shout,” he added.
“There were just too many touches from too many players, I don't know whether that's Lincoln's good pressure, the pitch, but we didn't get our flow.
“It was very easy to get to the halfway line and then very difficult to play through lines which we're usually so good at it. You do have to give the opposition credit for that.”On the pitch, Johnson added: “I’ve said before that we’ve got some fantastic ground staff here, but I honestly don’t know what happened today. Until we have that discussion, it’s very difficult for me to have an opinion on it. Often, there’s context to any particular situation.
“It’s nothing against the people, but for some reason, the pitch was waterlogged 40 minutes before the game.
“The Sporting Director sent me a picture and said, ‘What’s gone on here? Have you asked for it to be watered?’ Somebody’s got it wrong somewhere because it wasn’t meant to be like that.
Johnson’s misery was compounded after he was shown a red card in stoppage time after an altercation with midfielder Conor McGrandles, following a Callum Doyle foul near the halfway line.
“I thought it was a high tackle from Callum, not the best in the world,” Johnson said.
“When an 18-year-old gets picked on right in front of you, I thought it was right to try and prevent and defend.
“I've got to be accountable and I will be, I'll take any punishment on the chin.”