Sunderland remain a club under pressure, with manager Dick Advocaat still pushing for new signings and owner Ellis Short defending his level of investment, but Saturday’s equaliser from Jermain Defoe brought some relief to the Stadium of Light. Whether it also brings belief is another matter.
It feels imperative Sunderland at least get another point at Aston Villa next week, otherwise they could head into the international break with one point from 12 and a disaffected manager with nine months on his contract.
Advocaat’s request for more players was punchy and returns the ball to the board’s court, with Napoli’s former Swansea midfielder Jonathan de Guzman on the radar.
Short had made an impressive defence of his financial commitment over the past seven years: “I have never taken money out of the club. In fact, I have funded significant shortfalls each and every season.” He added that his expenditure exceeded the total of all previous owners collectively since the club’s formation in 1879.
But Short has been the victim of bad advice, particularly in manager and player recruitment, for which he accepted the blame.
An example of Sunderland’s recruitment failings could be seen in Swansea’s André Ayew. The Ghana international who initiated Bafétimbi Gomis’s opener was the game’s major outfield influence. He joined Swansea on a free. On Sunderland’s bench was Steven Fletcher, who cost £12m, although he did well when he came on.
All knew that Sunderland had been reliant on Costel Pantilimon’s saves, though Sunderland should have had a penalty for an Ashley Williams handball.
Advocaat was pleased with the grit, even if the Dutchman was also honest about Swansea’s superior passing and movement.
Sunderland’s major summer signing, £8m Jeremain Lens, said: “This is a start. From this point, we can begin building something.
“In the previous games, when we conceded, we did not fight for anything after that. That was the big difference today.”Reuse content