Sunderland need balance
The first thing I look at when the teams are announced is are they balanced? The 1973 side complemented each other. A terrific goalkeeper, a very solid back four led by Dave Watson. Good workers in midfield who balanced well. Billy Hughes and I rotated around the centre-forward. This caused Leeds a problem.
This Sunderland team don’t have a left side. They play 4-5-1 with a tight three, which I imagine would be Ki Sung-yueng , Lee Cattermole and Jack Colback, with Adam Johnson on the right. They have got a balanced team, but do they have the quality?
Adam Johnson must shine
Sunderland know that possession is going to be few and far between, so they have to make best use of what they do get on the counter. The challenge is to give Johnson the ball early, in the attacking third. It’s no good getting the ball to him on the halfway line because he’s got too much to do. That is going to be their big challenge because they will be sat so deep.
Johnson has improved. We knew he had the quality. The one thing that has always been a question mark has been his mental strength. He is 26 now, he has to stand up on the big occasions.
Take confidence from the early rounds
In the 1973 Cup run, we beat Manchester City in the fifth round in a replay and we were terrific. From that game on, we realised that we were a quality side. Then we beat Arsenal in the semis and there was a sense of momentum building. So we were very relaxed, like a group of excited schoolboys playing together.
That is what this Sunderland team need to do. They have shown what they can do by beating Chelsea and Manchester United. The away result at Old Trafford was fantastic. I am sure Gus Poyet will use the 1973 final as part of his team talk: “Listen, this is what can be done.”
City must have the right attitude
I think Leeds suffered from complacency in 1973. If you watch the pre-match toss-up between Billy Bremner and Bobby Kerr, Bremner has a look of disdain on his face as if to say, “what are you doing here? You shouldn’t be on the same pitch as us”. You could see that they got anxious, especially when we scored the goal. They got more anxious and desperate.
I am sure Manuel Pellegrini will use the FA Cup final of last year, when City were out-and-out favourites and Wigan beat them 1-0. He will use that as part of his team talk. You have only got one chance at Wembley, you don’t get a replay.
Navas can impress for City – like Barnes in ’76
City have some fantastic players, and they will be looking for their big players to step up on the big stage. Sergio Aguero is outstanding, but after his injury it is a difficult call for Pellegrini. Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas have surprised me. I thought Navas would be a good addition but I didn’t think he would play this well. Navas is an out-and-out winger, like Peter Barnes was in 1976, but on the other side. But Barnes was a better goalscorer. In the 1976 League Cup final, we believed in ourselves. Newcastle had a very strong attacking side but we had belief.Reuse content