April 24, 2024

Dan Neil has advised his Sunderland teammates about what they should do during the international break.

Sunderland have had one of the worst stretches of football in a long time, with only one point from their previous seven Championship games.

This season, the Black Cats have had to deal with a fairly youthful group, with players such as Danny Batth and Alex Pritchard leaving the club. Dan Neil has already confessed that a lack of experience at the Stadium of Light has been a problem in the dressing room.

The 22-year-old has been one of the Black Cats’ few bright spots this season, and he has occasionally worn the captain’s armband in Luke O’Nien’s absence.

While the latter is expected to rejoin to the squad after the international break, Neil has taken on leadership responsibilities to convey a message to his colleagues ahead of their match against Cardiff City next week.

Neil told Sunderland Echo: “It’s frustrating. Neil stated, “I believe I’ve been in the stands during previous implosions.” “I believe everything has been nice and dandy in recent years, and everything has gone well. I think this year was going to be difficult anyway.

“I think everyone was just delighted last year; we were tenth, then ninth, and now we’re in the playoffs. I believe that has created a great deal of ambition among the supporters, and I understand why. I believe that when you finish sixth one year, even as players, you want to finish fifth, fourth, or compete for the top two.”

Sunderland need to ‘take accountability’

A physically demanding pre-season is exactly what Sunderland need ahead of  2023/2024 - Roker Report

 

“It just hasn’t gone our way this year and we need to look at ourselves for that,” he said.

“We need to accept some responsibility. The mentality still exists among the gang, and we will continue to fight. The final eight games are vital, and we will attempt to win them all.

“I was saying the other day that you don’t want to go into the last few games of the season playing for nothing, because it breeds a bit of, possibly, laziness since we can’t go up or down. That is why, following this international break, we must hit the ground running and put together a run so that we can have a sense of what to expect in each game.

“I believe there is no worse sensation than having nothing to play for. I believe we should utilize this international break as a chance to regroup and finish the season strong.”

Why Sunderland will improve after the international break

Most underperforming teams use the international break to identify and address issues.

Mike Dodds will undoubtedly do that, and to be honest, I have little faith in his ability to better himself.

Corry Evans and Aji Alese will help us turn things around (but not radically).

Evans is the veteran player we’ve been looking for since he was injured over a year ago, and we haven’t really replaced him in the middle since. Once fit, there’s no reason Evans shouldn’t start.

Meanwhile, Alese has been unquestionably one of our best defenders when fit, and he can even play centre-back if Dodds decides to change the formation again. Leo Hjelde hasn’t done enough since his arrival, and I believe the former West Ham player would give me a lot more confidence in the back line.

Players returning from injuries are usually a huge lift for the club, and I’m sure it’s not only the supporters who are thrilled to see their captain back in the dressing room.

 

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