What did Sunderland learn from their trip to the south coast?

Sunderland may have suffered late heartbreak in their 1-1 draw with Southampton but they can take heart from their performance.

What did Sunderland learn from their trip to the south coast?
Sunderland must turn their draws into wins if they are to survive

Before the game a draw for Sunderland at St.Mary’s would have looked like a point gained but now, it’s two points lost. However, they produced a spirited performance againsts the hosts, and here's five things we learned from the match. 

Borini must play

Fabio Borini must be playing on games. The Italian can create chances for the Black Cats and his tireless work-rate will always win Sunderland fans over. Borini is similar to Seb Larsson in that sense, he never stops running and chases every ball. If you are going to survive in this league then he is the type of player you want in your team.

Fabio Borini (Source: Sunderland Echo)
Fabio Borini (Source: Sunderland Echo)

Jermain Defoe equals goals

Jermain Defoe will always score goals, he’s do it all his life and if he wanted to play till he’s 50 then he’d still be scoring. The striker may have struggled in recent games but he is still the club’s top scorer and by some margin. As long as he’s in the team Sunderland stand a chance of getting something from the game. He is crucial for the Wearsiders.

Sunderland must learn to see out games, and fast

Southampton’s cruel late equaliser was typical of Sunderland, just ten more seconds and that one point would have been three. Big Sam’s men cannot afford to not be able to see out games other wise they’re going to be punished in the cruellest way possible – relegation. The Black Cats have been punished by their inability to see out games on more than one occasion and must learn from their mistakes.

Allardyce must get his substitutions right

Sam Allardyce’s decision to introduce John O’Shea for the last few minutes of the game is one he may regret. Had Allardyce not tinkered with his defence so close to the end then things may have been a story. Though Jan Kirchhoff is still perhaps lacking that match sharpness the German was one of, if not Sunderland’s best player on Saturday and could have easily played a few more minutes. The Sunderland boss may look back and rue his decision to take off Kirchhoff. The towering defensive midfielder has recovered from his nightmare debut against Tottenham and is fast becoming a fan favourite.

Jan Kirchhoff has settled into his role (Source: The Daily Mail)
Jan Kirchhoff has settled into his role (Source: The Daily Mail)

The wins will come

If Sunderland continue to play how they are, then they’ll do just fine. Unlike fellow relegation candidates in the league, Sunderland aren’t playing badly and have had some unlucky results lately. Allardyce’s men have put in a number of impressive performances and should have won their last two and got at least a point against West Ham. They have just managed to turn their losses into draws and now need to turn them draws into wins, and by Allardyce’s reckoning, at least five of them.