Sunderland boss: We must kill off opponents

Liam Bridcutt  in action for Sunderland against Leeds
Liam Bridcutt in action for Sunderland against Leeds

GUS POYET admits Sunderland need to improve their knack of killing off opponents, despite the Black Cats progressing into the FA Cup fourth round yesterday.

Fit-again Patrick van Aanholt’s first Sunderland goal ensured safe passage for Poyet’s men against Championship strugglers Leeds United, in a repeat of the scoreline from the 1973 cup final.

But it was needlessly nervy for Sunderland during the second half at the Stadium of Light as Leeds were rejuvenated after the break, following a first half in which it was all-too-comfortable for the hosts.

Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon denied Leeds frontman Adryan less than 45 seconds after the restart, before the visitors hit the post at the death, with Poyet conceding that the Black Cats should have been out of sight by that stage.

“During the week, we somehow didn’t concede too many against Manchester City when they had plenty of chances in the final 20 minutes,” said Poyet.

“(Yesterday) we had so many to put the game to bed very early and we didn’t finish it.

“It’s something we know we need to improve.

“I’m a little bit disappointed with the finishing and the last decision, because we have to be much better.”

Van Aanholt’s strike – after the left-back returned from more than two months on the sidelines with a shoulder injury – was just rewards for Sunderland, who completely dominated the opening 45 minutes.

“I think it was a decent performance in the first half; totally controlled,” added Poyet.

“When you’re in that situation, you have to put the game to bed, finish it and score two or three and make sure the second half is just a matter of controlling.

“We didn’t do it and then when Leeds had nothing to lose in the second half, they threw themselves forward, which, of course, creates a bit of nerves in the stadium.

“But, at the same time, they left so much space at the back that it was quite easy for us to create.

“Now, creating means nothing if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net. Simple as that.

“I’m happy with the result and to be in the next round. That’s what the cup is all about.”

The draw for the fourth round of the competition will take place tonight.