The Wearsiders have just six Premier League goals to their name this season, and five have come from Steven Fletcher: the other, even more embarrassingly, was an own goal by Newcastle United’s Demba Ba last weekend.
While the £12 million buy from Wolverhampton Wanderers has hit the ground running, the same cannot be said of their other marquee summer signing, Adam Johnson.
Almost a year to the day since Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager,
queried his exertions in a League Cup match against Wolverhampton Wanderers,
the £10 million winger conceded he – and the rest of
Although they have been beaten just once in the league so far, their win count stands at the same amount having now drawn six of their opening eight matches.
“There are a lot of things we can do better,” Johnson said. “It hasn’t been going our way and we haven’t been creating that much going forward. Hopefully that will change and we’ll be able to score a few more goals. Sometimes it’s the way teams set up against us because they know we have a threat. We’ve got Fletch and proven goalscorers like [Stéphane] Sessègnon and Louis Saha.
“But I also think we need to create more chances. James and I and the other midfielders need to work harder for the strikers.”
Right now, Johnson looks a shadow of the player who at times electrified the Etihad Stadium. O’Neill, who has urged Johnson to stop trying to win games on his own, is confident the player will come good. “At the moment Steven is our goalscorer, we need to and are trying to address it,” O’Neill said.
“Adam got injured training for England and it has been a bit stop start for him. But I have no doubt in time he will be terrific for us. He will be able to create and maybe as a consequence we’ll be able to share a few goals around.”
One Sunderland player on top of his game at present is Simon Mignolet, who made two excellent saves to keep out late headers from Robert Huth who, at the opposite end, blocked a goal bound Fletcher shot with his hand, yet escaped sanction from referee Mark Halsey.