16 September 2023

Sunderland comeback was ‘a matter of time’ – Tony Mowbray

16 September 2023

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray insisted his side looked good enough to beat QPR even without the sending-off of Jack Colback.

The Black Cats came from behind to win 3-1 at Loftus Road, where Kenneth Paal put the hosts ahead before Rs midfielder Colback was red-carded against his former club for a challenge on Jobe Bellingham.

However, Paal’s opener came somewhat against the run of play and Mowbray felt the visitors were superior prior to Colback’s dismissal.

They equalised in the seventh minute of first-half stoppage time when Jack Clarke’s effort was diverted in by QPR defender Steve Cook.

And second-half goals from Dan Ballard and Abdoullah Ba secured the points.

Mowbray said: “I think we started really well in the game, dominated, and then they scored. It wasn’t as if they were peppering our goal and giving us problems.

“We got the job done and I think we controlled the game and deserved it.”

QPR’s young Irish striker Sinclair Armstrong caused problems with his pace and power, but overall the home side struggled.

Mowbray added: “QPR spend a lot of time out of possession – their average possession is 33 per cent – so we knew we were going to have lots of the ball.

“It was about how we broke down their defensive block and we found a way to do that, which was pleasing.

“They are a team that are driven to be competitive and we were trying to control the game.

“But I thought we were OK in the first half and it seemed a matter of time.

“They were trying to score on the transition with Armstrong, who’s a hugely talented boy, but I thought we dealt with him really well.

“I just felt it was a matter of time before we scored and it was great that we scored before half-time.”

QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth had no doubt that Colback’s sending-off was the turning point in the match.

Ainsworth said: “Jack’s a competitor and if you tackle hard in this day and age and miss your timing then the refs can come down with a red card. He’s been a victim of that.

“We had a plan put in place and looked very secure, but with 10 men it was always going to be difficult against a team that were one game away from the Premier League last year and have spent good money in the transfer window.”

Rangers were almost relegated last season, have won just once at home since last October and have lost all three of their home matches this term.

But Ainsworth is adamant there has been a marked improvement.

He said: “This place is different to what it was. I’ll tell you now: these boys empty the tank every single game.

“It was hard with 10 men. I’m not saying we definitely would have won with 11, but we had a plan.

“To get to half-time 1-0 would have been great. It’s a different team-talk at 1-0 up. After that I just wanted us to stay in the game.

“The third goal was really a killer. That kills us off.”

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