Michael Beale says Sunderland bow ‘couldn’t have gone any worse’ after home loss

By Sports Desk December 23, 2023

Michael Beale said his first match in charge of Sunderland “couldn’t have gone any worse” after seeing his new side humbled 3-0 at home by Coventry.

The former Rangers and QPR boss was appointed as Tony Mowbray’s permanent successor at the start of the week but saw his team finish well beaten on home soil following goals from Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, Callum O’Hare and Kasey Palmer.

Beale was also forced to listen to a significant section of the home support at the Stadium of Light chanting his predecessor’s name during the defeat.

He said: “Today couldn’t have gone any worse, let’s be honest about it. We have to apologise to our fans and we have to respond in a couple of days’ time.

“He (Mowbray) did a good job here, and I have no issue with the fans showing their affection towards him because he was a man who they were fond of and he did a good job.

“Ultimately, that’s now gone and we need to look forward. The team needs to get better results than it did today.

“Consistency has maybe been a bit of an issue for the group. That’s our 10th game that we’ve lost this season in 23, and we’ve won 10. So, at the halfway stage of the campaign, we have to decide what team we’re going to be moving forward. We certainly can’t let in three goals a game, that’s for sure.”

Mark Robins, meanwhile, feels his Coventry side have put themselves into a great position to be able to attack the second half of the season after moving to within six points of the Championship play-off places.

Coventry started the campaign slowly, having lost two of last season’s star players, Viktor Gyokeres and Gustavo Hamer, in the summer transfer window.

A number of signings have gradually bedded in, with the win at the Stadium of Light meaning Robins’ side have now lost just one of their last eight matches.

Robins said: “We lost two brilliant players in the summer, and had a turnover of 25 players. Fourteen players left the club, and 11 came in.

“You’re starting again, and that’s frustrating. It can be frustrating for everyone, but we brought quality in, we know that, it just takes time.

“If you bring in players from abroad who haven’t experienced the Championship before, it can take a while for them to get used to the intensity and the quality of the league.

“It may have surprised one or two, but now, I think they’re starting to see what it’s like and the places you’ve got to come to. The noise in this stadium today was fantastic, so the fact we’ve done what we’ve done shows there’s a bit of growth there going on.

“We can look forward to the second half of the season, although I think this division this year is probably harder than it’s been for a long time because of the teams that are in there and the fact that people have strengthened.”

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