Sunderland 1 Leeds United 0: Whites can build on Sunderland second half – Gray

Rodolph Austin takes on Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson.
Rodolph Austin takes on Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson.
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Leeds did well at Sunderland yesterday in the second half.

The first half was a non-event – it was a bit like Derby.

But in the second half they came out and had a couple of chances with Adryan missing a good chance. There was also a shout for a penalty which looked as if it could have been a penalty. It was difficult to say but the referee deemed it was outside the box and gave a free-kick. And then Liam Cooper hit the post with a header right on time.

But Leeds definitely came out in the second half and put up a spirited performance which was a lot better and augurs well for the future. It gives them a bit of hope to go to Bolton on Saturday but we have got to start the game right as in the first half we never started.

The second half was completely different and it was like chalk and cheese. They came out and got after Sunderland, they put them under pressure and they didn’t like it. Other than that, you’ve got to think it gives Neil Redfearn something to think about for the Bolton game as a couple of boys came in and did all right. Charlie Taylor did all right and Luke Murphy played well. There were performances that were good and it just gives them a little bit of a lift for the Bolton game and that’s what we’ve got to think about now – the league.

The cup’s gone and it’s disappointing that you’re out of it so early but we’ve got to think about trying to put in good performances now and trying to get ourselves up the division, starting at Bolton.

The Sunderland game should have given them confidence if they can just approach the game right and we are talking about going out and getting after teams.

In the second half we put them under pressure, closed them down quickly, played at a higher tempo, passed the ball crisper and these are the type of things you have got to do if you are going to win matches.

You don’t like to talk about spirited defeats but that’s what it was.

But you don’t want to get into that habit thinking ‘we did quite well but we got beat.’ You want to be winning games and the quicker we can get back into that winning habit the better.

I thought Sunderland were disappointing. I thought they were pretty average though you’ve got to give them credit for the first half. But the second half was completely different.

Neil made lots of changes at Sunderland but the two boys that were playing out wide weren’t really what you would call wingers though we did play with a bit more width.

Then you had three up front in Mirco Antenucci, who I thought worked hard again in leading the line with Adryan and the boy Brian Montenegro sort of playing off him in wider areas. But they are not wingers and we’ve still not got that type of player at the club.

But I don’t think any of the lads who came in will start at Bolton. I think Alex Mowatt will play, I think Lewis Cook will play so I think it will be pretty much the same as the last league game.

The young centre-back – Dario Del Fabro – did all right but it’s difficult to say if any of these players will come into the side.

They obviously did well in the second half but I think Rodolph Austin picked them up in the second half. He was aggressive in his play, he went round and about their players and he made it difficult for them to play. He gave us a big lift and I think that helped a lot of the players.

Whether the players who came in have done enough to convince Neil they should start the game at Bolton, it remains to be seen.

There’s talk now of striker Leonardo Pavoletti and midfielder Rene Krhin coming in on loan and I still think the squad needs a bit of help.

But I wouldn’t base our survival chances on the Sunderland game as the league form has still got to pick up.

I thought we were playing against an average side in Sunderland and I think we had a better chance of getting a result against Sunderland than we did against Derby.

It will now be a tough test at Bolton on a day when Blackpool also play Millwall but you don’t want to think about that game.

We can go to Bolton and get a result – but in general the away form will have to pick up.