Lee Johnson makes frank Sunderland admission after Portsmouth thrashing

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© Provided by Football League World League One – Hull City v Sunderland

Sunderland manager Lee Johnson admits he is still frustrated by his side’s 4-0 thrashing by Portsmouth at Fratton Park immediately before the October international break.

The Black Cats had gone into that game top of the League One table, but that heavy defeat, combined with results for other teams last week when Johnson’s side were out of action, have seen them drop to fourth in third-tier standings.

Johnson has seen his side bounce back from that to some extent, claiming victories over Lincoln and Manchester United Under 21s in the EFL Trophy since then.

But with the league clearly a priority for Johnson, it seems he is still hurting from that result at Fratton Park.

Reflecting on that defeat to Portsmouth now almost two weeks later, the Sunderland boss was quoted by The Northern Echo as saying: “I’m still reeling from the Portsmouth game to be honest with you. It’s still in me, that sort of pain and anger and frustration and I hope it’s in all of the lads as well.

“We don’t want to tense when we’re playing. We want to make sure that we’ve got a memory and understand that we let the fans down and that we play with a desire to reinstate their confidence in us.”

Sunderland return to league action on Saturday afternoon, when they make the long trip to Priestfield to face Gillingham, who are currently 19th in the table.

The Verdict

This does feel like it may be something of a good sign from a Sunderland perspective.

Admittedly, they would much rather not have had to deal with it, but the fact Johnson is still hurting from that result highlights the determination he will have to put things right here.

Given the importance of the league to Sunderland, you can you understand why this result is still bothering Johnson, since his side have not had a chance to respond in the same competition yet.

With Gillingham currently rather out of form in League One, you do feel as though this ought to be a good opportunity to get back to form in the league, although the pressure will start to rise if they fail to do that.

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