Sunderland star Dan Neil has admitted that the team can be ‘naive’ when they’ve taken the lead this season.
Speaking to the Northern Echo, Neil stated they ‘don’t really kill teams off’. Based on most recent result in the Championship, he’s not wrong.
The Black Cats lost 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion after taking the lead thanks to a penalty from Amad Diallo in the first half, but Baggies substitutes Daryl Dike and Tom Rogic turned the game on its head.
This leaves Tony Mowbray’s side in 11th place in the Championship. However, it’s not quite panic stations just yet as Sunderland are only four points off the play-off places.
Neil stated: “When I’ve watched the games back, some of the football we’ve played has been really, really good.
“But I feel that, sometimes, we can be a bit naïve when we go ahead and we don’t really kill teams off, unlike what we did against Millwall.
“I feel like a lot of times this season, we sink and sink and sink instead of really going and putting our foot on the throat to kill a game off. In that scenario, we just need to keep playing as we were when it was 0-0. If there’s one thing I would say we could improve on, that’s it.”
TIF Thoughts on Neil’s comments…
We believe that being able to critically assess your performance is a great characteristic to have. When you consider that Neil is only 21 years old, that makes it even more impressive.
The Englishman tends to operate mostly as a central midfielder. Despite his young age, Mowbray has handed Neil plenty of appearances, playing 21 times in the Championship and making 19 starts.
Neil is a hard-working player, with his strength being winning the ball in the middle of the park. In the league this season, the 21-year-old has averaged 1.4 interceptions – the fifth-best in the squad – and a team-high of 2.2 tackles per game.
There’s still the second half of the season to go, but you have to say that Sunderland have had an impressive campaign in the Championship, especially when you consider this is their first season since being promoted from League One.
If they work on killing off their opponents, the Black Cats could be dark horses when it comes to securing a position in the play-offs.