April 24, 2024

Michael Beale has accepted responsibility for one of Sunderland’s reoccurring weaknesses, which proved to be the visitors’ demise against Huddersfield.

On Wednesday night, the Black Cats were trounced 1-0 away to Huddersfield, dealing a severe damage to their playoff chances.

Sunderland put in a terrible display, failing to build on their 3-1 victory over Plymouth.

The defeat drops Michael Beale’s side to tenth place, leaving the manager deeply unhappy.

However, despite his players’ terrible performance, the manager has now accepted responsibility for one fundamental vulnerability in his team that proved to be their downfall.

Michael Beale takes the blame for set piece horror show

In a lackluster encounter, Huddersfield won the tie in an avoidable manner. In the first half, a free kick was only parried away, allowing Matty Pearson to score.

From here, the shots continued to appear deadly from set plays. In the second half, the Terriers struck the post with another free kick before Jobe Bellingham had to clear the ball off the line from a corner.

Sunderland has struggled to defend set plays on multiple occasions this season. Following the game, Beale recognized that he and his staff must resolve this persistent issue.

“It’s very disappointing,” he told Sunderland. “We conceded again on a set play away from home. It is an area where we need to improve; it has cost the team a lot of money since I arrived.

“In the first half, it was a midfield struggle, and they were going at us. Sometimes we need to stand up for ourselves. When given the opportunity, we must improve our final pass in the final third.

“We opened up in the second half, making it more of an end-to-end contest, but we were the away team chasing it. They had a few chances, as did we, but they have yet to find it.

“I’m simply incredibly sad since it was an away game and we lost on a set play. That is on me and the staff; we must find the answers. We know that coming away from teams will benefit you, and if you can’t find a moment of greatness, you must stay in the game.”


Huddersfield Town 1-0 Sunderland: Matty Pearson goal gives Terriers win  over Black Cats - BBC Sport


Sunderland must find a quick solution to set piece problem

If Sunderland wants to stay in the playoff race, Beale needs to find a solution to this persistent issue.

Huddersfield looked like they’d score every time they received a free kick or a corner. Sunderland may face a more lethal threat if they play against opponents with higher talent.

According to WhoScored, Sunderland has conceded ten goals from set pieces this season. Only QPR, Watford, Blackburn, and Stoke have conceded more.

This issue is certainly costing the team precious points in the playoff race. Given that the situation is extremely preventable, Beale must find a speedy solution to this problem.

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