27 November 2021

Sunderland’s ‘character and resilience’ pleases manager Lee Johnson

27 November 2021

Lee Johnson was pleased with how Sunderland handled the weather conditions in their win at Cambridge

Alex Pritchard scored direct from a corner before Nathan Broadhead’s superb strike secured a 2-1 win for Johnson’s team, either side of Sam Smith’s equaliser for the hosts.

Pritchard’s goal demonstrated the windy conditions, with the side attacking the south end of the stadium enjoying sustained pressure in each half.

“English football can be a real leveller. Anybody who has played in the park or semi-pro level will have played in conditions like this,” Johnson said afterwards.

“Our previous game in conditions like this we didn’t do very well, which was Portsmouth. Today it was a bit better. So I thought the boys showed real character and real resilience today in a tough game.

“They’ve got some good players, players that are strong around the box and we had to cope at both ends. I’m disappointed we didn’t go and finish it off in the second half because we had a couple of good chances that would have settled the nerves a little bit.

“It was very pleasing energy levels. I was pleased that we changed the shape and the shape change went really well. Today we probably had 14, 15 players max and lost one so down to 14. In this tough spell we have to bundle through to January at least.”

Mark Bonner was not too downhearted by Cambridge’s defeat, but rued that his side did not create more opportunities.

“It’s a fairly even game, I thought it was quite balanced,” he said.

“Obviously the conditions played a part in both halves. We played better football in the first half probably because the space was there for us.

“The context of the game looked a little bit different second half. Sunderland defended their box very well and we weren’t quite able to find the moment of quality to chisel out something. In the end we became a bit too predictable with some of our build-up play in moments we tried to create chances.

“We put everyone on the pitch that we thought might create or score a goal. In the end, we just weren’t able to do it and they saw it out quite well.

“There was not a lot in that game, so to go one way is tough for us because we thought we deserved something from it. You don’t always get what you deserve.

“I’ve just said to the players don’t be too down about it because they’ve given everything. This group have given an incredible amount in the last seven days to the three games.

“We must be making some progress because we’re disappointed that we don’t take something from these teams.”

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