United manager Nick Daws provided his reaction to iFollow Iron after the 3-0 away loss at Sunderland.
The Black Cats won through strikes from Max Power, Josh Maja and Chris Maguire, which were scored during a frustrating first half at the Stadium of Light.
Daws said: “It was a tough one to take. I didn’t think we were at the races in the first half. We came with a gameplan that we didn’t execute and that was to improve ourselves defensively from Tuesday night. But that didn’t mean just sit back, drop to the halfway line and let the opposition take the game to us.
“To come here, do that and get the crowd behind the home team when there’s 30,000 there is asking for trouble. I think to a certain extent in the second half you saw a different approach.
“We’ve challenged ourselves to be more honest and truthful, commit to a game, play with personality, belief and intensity. If we go down to a defeat because of those things, I’d expect we’ve been beaten by a much better team but have gone toe-to-toe with them. I didn’t think we did that in the first half.
“They did what we asked them to do in the second half. That saw a shift in the balance of the game, which made it a bit more even. There’s still no doubting that Sunderland’s ability and movement caused us problems, but we also caused them problems as well – though not enough to get back into the game.”
The game could have taken a different complexion had the Iron been awarded an early penalty on 10 minutes, when George Thomas went down under a challenge from the final defender.
“I thought it was (a penalty) at the time. My gut reaction was that he’d been wiped out. From the reaction from their bench, they thought they’d got away with one,” explained Daws.
The key now is to bounce back quickly when Fleetwood Town visit Glanford Park in the league on Wednesday night (7.45pm kick-off).
“That’s the only option we have available to us,” the boss said. “We can’t dwell on it. We had a frank discussion in the changing room after about the performance and what we’re looking for, which the players know. It’s a short turnaround in time, but we know exactly what we’re looking for from this team and it needs to happen.”
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson missed the game after coming off against Doncaster Rovers in midweek with a dead leg, and will be looked at ahead of the match on Wednesday.
Daws said: “At the close of play on Saturday, he was in a better position than we thought he would be, but we’ll assess that over the next 24 hours and hopefully he’ll be part of the squad.”
Closing his interview, Daws praised the 1,343 Iron fans who made the trip to the North East to support their side.
“It was incredible support and that’s the hardest bit to take. As we approached the Stadium of Light, we saw our fans waving at the bus and cheering us on, and could see what a good feeling they had about us coming here. We need to give them more back than they saw today.”
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