Having been appointed earlier in the week as Tony Mowbray’s permanent successor at Sunderland, new head coach Michael Beale suffered a dreadful start to life in the Stadium of Light dugout.
The Black Cats were put the sword by Coventry City in a 3-0 defeat at home this afternoon. According to SAFC Data Analytics on Twitter, this was the heaviest loss any Sunderland manager has endured in their first home match in history, a record which dates back to the 19th Century, across 41 different permanent bosses.
Today’s 3-0 loss is the heaviest defeat any Sunderland manager has ever endured in their first home game.
This dates back to 1889 and includes 41 managers.#SAFC
— SAFC Data Analytics (@SAFC_Analysis) December 23, 2023
Tatsuhiro Sakamoto opened the scoring for the visitors right on half time as Coventry went in one goal to the good at the break. However, things didn’t improve for the home side as Callum O’Hare and Kasey Palmer scored three minutes apart with a little over twenty minutes remaining as Mark Robins’ men wrapped up all three points.
The defeat still leaves Sunderland three points behind the final playoff spot but is certainly a missed opportunity given Hull City suffered a 3-2 loss to Bristol City on Friday night.
The Wearside club’s goalscoring issues reared their ugly head once more, an area that also caused Mowbray many problems this season.
Speaking after the game, Beale expressed his disappointment in the display and even made an interesting admission about supporters’ vocal sentiments towards his predecessor [quotes via Sky Sports]:
“Today couldn’t have gone any worse, let’s be honest about it. We have to apologise to our fans and we have to respond in a couple of days’ time.
“He (Mowbray) did a good job here, and I have no issue with the fans showing their affection towards him because he was a man who they were fond of and he did a good job.
“Ultimately, that’s now gone and we need to look forward. The team needs to get better results than it did today,” he continued.
“Consistency has maybe been a bit of an issue for the group. That’s our 10th game that we’ve lost this season in 23, and we’ve won 10. So, at the halfway stage of the campaign, we have to decide what team we’re going to be moving forward. We certainly can’t let in three goals a game, that’s for sure.”
This was a truly horrendous start to life in the dugout for Michael Beale and certainly will not have silenced those who were critical of his appointment in the first place after a failed stint with Rangers in Scotland.
Nevertheless, the manager will now know his squad’s capabilities which could see Sunderland take a much different approach in future matches and hopefully lead to an upturn in results, having now suffered back-to-back defeats in the Championship.