Tony Mowbray makes big Abdoullah Ba admission and delivers verdict on Sunderland debutants
Tony Mowbray reacts to another impressive Abdoullah Ba performance
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Tony Mowbray says that Abdoullah Ba is playing his way into a regular starting role for Sunderland after another impressive contribution against QPR.
Ba retained his place in the starting XI despite Patrick Roberts returning to fitness, and scored an excellent finish on his weaker foot to secure a 3-1 win for the Black Cats in the second half.
Roberts was introduced as a substitute at half time as Sunderland looked to capitalise on their numerical advantage, with Jack Colback shown a red card for a late challenge on Jobe in the 21st minute.
Mowbray says he will look to work both into the side at the same time where possible but has suggested that Roberts may have to be patient ahead of the trip to Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday night.
Ba generally prefers to play as a number ten but Mowbray and his coaching staff feel his attributes might be best suited to playing as a more orthodox winger.
"We're absolutely delighted for him," Mowbray said.
"We've been experimenting a bit with Abdoullah, he wants to play inside as a ten but in our opinion he's better in the wide areas where there's more space for him, he can eliminate players, do his stepovers, cut back inside... Let's wait and see.
"Patrick can play inside as well and yet we know how devastating he can be driving in towards the box. My job is to find a way to get them both into the team if that's what we're going to do, and yet football is always the balance between how many defensive-minded players you've got in the team as well as those attackers.
"Maybe Patrick just has to be patient at the moment because Abdoullah has contributed really well the last couple of games, that's a great one-touch finish he has scored today. At the moment, he deserves to keep going I think."
Mowbray handed debuts to deadline-day additions Mason Burstow and Adil Aouchiche, with Burstow starting in Bradley Dack's absence and Aouchiche an impressive substitute in the second half.
Mowbray was pleased with Burstow's contribution after only two training sessions with his new team mates, and says he will improve with more time at the Academy of Light.
"Mason did fine," Mowbray said.
"We didn't want to confuse him but the way this team has developed, he has to link up. It'll take time and training for him to bed in with how we play, and we'll get there.
"They're different players but I think he can come into those pockets as Amad did, and score those goals. His finishing has been really good in training. He'll be pleased to get up and running, it was tough for him physically but he'll get used to that.
"Adil is a very good footballer, he's shown us that in training and in a bounce game against Hartlepool where he did very well. He can keep the ball moving for us. He can play as a ten so if we don't have that nine down the middle, he will just keep it moving for us round the opposition box. A good footballer, yeah."