Melanie Reay focuses on the positives after a loss in the capital
Credit: PA Photos/scanpix

Melanie Reay focuses on the positives after a loss in the capital

Sunderland boss happy to limit Gunners’ chances from open play

Sophie Lawson

After their loss to Arsenal in Borehamwood we spoke to Sunderland boss, Melanie Reay about the match and the team’s progression since she took charge.

Defensive strength and positives 

A solid first-half left the hosts frustrated as Sunderland continued the smart defensive game that’s been a feature since Reay took the reins, the coach left frustrated at the three-goal deficit come full time,

“I’m frustrated because it was three set pieces that’s cost us. I thought first half, wind in our faces we defended very well and to get in at half-time at 0-0 was a good feeling and we felt we could take the game to them but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

After leaking goals under the previous manager there has been a positive shift for the Lady Black Cats, the defence working double-time to keep their side in it and Reay concedes that defensive stability was her first focus,

We certainly try and balance it out but my first priority when I came in was to steady the ship and work on the defence, I got appointed to make us harder to beat and we held Arsenal 0-0 at the Hetton Centre in the Spring Series and we just needed to be more clinical in the final third, that compliments the good defending.


Following on from the midweek news that Sunderland would not be applying for a Tier 1 licence for the new season, the coach was placid over the question of whether or not the team had troubles focusing and geeing themselves up for the trip to Borehamwood,  

Not really, we can control things that go on on the football field and our main focus was trying to get some and unfortunately that hasn’t happened today.

At a ground that’s not made for happy hunting in recent times, Reay was pleased that her team had at least managed to come away with a less polarised score, the positives in performance there for all to see,

It’s always difficult when you play against the top four teams but I’ve been here in the past; stood at this ground last year when it was seven in the FA Cup but hopefully that gap’s bridging and today it was at least nice not to concede from open play, even though it was set pieces so there are positives to take for sure.