Sunderland manager David Moyes gets a big fat 0 in Middlesbrough loss
Sunderland slid towards the Championship as they slumped to a dismal defeat at relegation rivals Middlesbrough on Wednesday night. Once again they turned in a performance that was well below the standards required of a Premier League team.
For beleaguered manager David Moyes, it was yet another bad day at the office. This match, against a Middlesbrough team who had not won a game in 2017, was probably his last chance to avoid having an embarrassing relegation on his rapidly diminishing CV.
That his team failed to take it with a lack-lustre performance will add to his detractors. Any Sunderland supporter who stood up for Moyes would have found it hard to raise any encouragement from the performance that his team turned in as Marten de Roon's goal sealed things.
Weak in defence, feeble in midfield and totally ineffective in attack, this Sunderland team is as bad as any that has worn the red and white stripes in the club's long and illustrious history.
There are only five more games left before the season ends.
Too many players seemed as if they wanted to be wearing anything other than a Sunderland shirt.
Manager rating out of 10
0 -- Same tired old tactics, same poor use of substitutes, same dismal result.
Players' ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating).
GK Jordan Pickford, 6 -- Might have done better with the goal but was otherwise up to his usual standard.
DF Billy Jones, 3 -- Once again, completely out of his depth. Appalling marking on De Roon for the Middlesbrough goal.
DF Jason Denayer, 6 -- Struggled at the start but settled well. Won some good headers and saw off Negredo.
DF John O'Shea, 4 -- Struggled with the pace of De Roon and showed little of the composure that he is associated with.
DF Javier Manquillo, 5 -- Tried to push forward but looks as if he cannot wait to get back to Spain.
MF Didier Ndong, 7 -- Played well and was busy all over the pitch. Has his limitations but they don't show up in such a poor side.
MF Darron Gibson, 2 -- A dreadful performance from an experienced player. Gave the ball away and avoided tackles until he was replaced.
MF Lee Cattermole, 4 -- Not a great return to his old stamping ground. Worked hard with no end result.
FW Wahbi Khazri, 5 -- Looked for the ball but wasted it far too often.
FW Jermain Defoe, 5 -- The goals have dried up mainly due to the abysmal service he receives from the midfield.
FW Victor Anichebe, 5 -- Wasted out wide on the left. He should be in the middle with Defoe and where his strength can be fully utilised. But the manager sees it differently.
Fabio Borini, 2 -- As ineffective as the man he replaced
Adnan Januzaj, NR -- No worthwhile contribution. Wasted a free kick from a good position.
Jack Rodwell, NR -- As peripheral as ever.