Why Chris Coleman’s Sunderland rollocking came AFTER Bristol City comeback with changes for Brentford likely

Sunderland came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with Bristol City.
Sunderland came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with Bristol City.

Chris Coleman was thrilled with the spirit of his side in the second half at Bristol City on Saturday, but the first-half implosion will almost certainly have consequences for the Sunderland squad.

For the third game in a row, the Black Cats chucked goals away in clusters and, while Coleman resisted the hairdryer treatment at half-time, the frustrations were still present 45 minutes and one spectacular comeback later.

Changes are likely when Brentford visit the Stadium of Light this weekend.

Coleman said after the 3-3 draw at Ashton Gate: “I’d be more inclined to give them a rollocking after the game today than at half-time.

“That’s because we’d gone from that low to high. Why did you bring this low again? And where was that high in the first 45 minutes?

“So sometimes I’ve dished out more rollockings and dished stuff out and had more stand-up rows and scraps with players, but there are only so many times that you can keep going to that.

“Sometimes you just have got to have a calmer conversation and get them to offer something verbally, which they did at half-time and full-time. Then sometimes you get a bit more clarity out of the situation.

“I was more aggressive to them after the game than at the break, which is not probably what people would expect.

“At half-time, I was just asking them questions of why to get the point across.

“I can’t keep screaming at them or I lose my effect on them. If you are losing a lot of games, as we are, you can’t keep screaming.

“That’s why I sat down. I normally stand up, but, when we went 3-0 down, I sat down and I just had to think a bit and try to keep calm which wasn’t easy.

“That’s because you get to the situation where you can’t keep doing the same thing the same thing. You have to say ‘hold up, maybe that’s not working’.

“We may have to tweak personnel or formation. I don’t care what it is. I don’t mind leaving a player out, I don’t care who he is if I think we’re going to get a result and spark a reaction.

“That’s maybe something we need to analyse between now and the next game to get a response like that.

“I will probably feel a little bit calmer once I’ve had a glass of wine on the flight home.”

Coleman was left to bemoan the lack of aggression in his side’s defending.

He said: “If it was the first 45 minutes out of the blue where we hadn’t been doing that I would probably analyse it more, but we’ve done that before. It’s happened two games running.

“We played well against Ipswich for half an hour, bossing the game, but we conceded the first goal and then, a minute before half-time, we conceded again.

“When we played Birmingham a week before, we were 1-0 down and then, a minute before half-time, we conceded again.

“So you’re looking at a trend there, so I was thinking ‘here we go again’. If it was something out of the blue, I’d analyse it more.

“But I know why it has happened.

“So we’ll go back. I’ll be smiling, I’ll be upbeat because we’ve got a point and I think, if it was 0-0 and we’d defended for 90 minutes, it would have felt different.

“But we came and had a go and it got us back into the game, so I’m pleased with that.

“At Cardiff, we went down with a whimper. It was a classic example.

“We were fine for the first 45 minutes, but a minute after half-time we’re 1-0 down. So that’s where we got back to mentality.

“When we are are defending and we concede from a set-play in the first five minutes it’s very simple – we don’t defend it aggressively enough.

“We have to give everything to keep the ball out of the net.

“In the last seconds of the game, when we’d just got ourselves back into it, Bristol could have been out there an hour later and we still wouldn’t have conceded because our mentality was that we were ready.

“That’s just mentality.”