Sunderland winger: Work needed at both ends

Adam Johnson.
Adam Johnson.
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ADAM JOHNSON says Sunderland need to address their attacking deficiencies, as well as cutting out the howlers at the back.

Individual defensive errors have cost Sunderland dear in their last two games, with back-to-back defeats against Southampton and Arsenal propelling the Black Cats into the bottom three.

But Sunderland also struggled going forwards against the Gunners, with Gus Poyet’s men failing to muster a meaningful effort on the opposition goal.

Finding the net has proved to be a problem throughout the campaign, with Sunderland drawing a blank in five of their opening nine Premier League games.

And winger Johnson, restored to the starting XI last weekend after two games on the bench, believes that is the area which Sunderland must improve in Monday’s trip to fifth bottom Crystal Palace.

Johnson said: “Obviously we’ve made mistakes, but I think we need to look like scoring more as well.

“We need to take more risks going forward.

“Everyone gets behind the ball and we can’t get out because everyone’s so deep. If we can rectify both ends of the pitch and just play like we know we can, we’ll be fine.

“We huffed and puffed and worked hard against Arsenal and pressed around the pitch.

“But it’s about putting the ball in the net as well. That’s how you win games.

“We’ve got to start creating more chances and putting them away when we get them.”

Johnson admits there was a tentativeness to Sunderland’s play against Arsenal after the previous weekend’s 8-0 drubbing at Southampton.

And the Easington-born winger believes Sunderland need to restore some self-belief if they are to become a more potent outfit.

He added: “As a team, we need to get our confidence back. That’s maybe what it’s down to, being more confident going forwards and not worrying about losing a game so much.

“I think if we got a result at Southampton and got beat by Arsenal at home, it wouldn’t have been as bad.

“But back-to-back defeats is tough. We need to put that right on Monday.

“I don’t think it was necessary Southampton. I think maybe with Arsenal coming to the Stadium of Light, everyone was just a bit edgy.

“We were behind the ball and letting them have it, but eventually they’ll hurt you. I know they didn’t really hurt us, but if you give them chances, they’re going to punish you.”