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Talking Tactics With Mark Bright - Sunderland

4 November 2014


Each week Palace legend Mark Bright dissects Palace's last outing for cpfc.co.uk. Here he looks back on the Monday Night Football defeat to Sunderland. 


It was a tough watch on Monday night losing to Sunderland.


Neil Warnock made one change to the team that played against West Brom as Scott Dann returned to the starting line-up replacing Adrian Mariappa, so depending on which way you look at it we played either a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Marouane Chamakh playing just behind Frazier Campbell, or 4-2-3-1.


I felt we started positively and the early challenge on Campbell by Santiago Vergini was a clumsy tackle and should have lead to a red card and penalty. Instead Phil Dowd waved play on in what can only be described as an incredible decision. Small margins can lead to huge advantages in this league.


The opening goal came about after a sweeping move by Sunderland. Good off the ball running by Patrick Van Aanholt lead to a unopposed cross and a free header by Steven Fletcher, but after a second-half barrage by Palace, Wes Brown's own goal got us back into it.


Corner after corner followed and some desperate defending from the visitors somehow kept the score at 1-1. At this point I felt we were in control and having conceded 10 goals in their last two games we knew that Sunderland would be fragile, but we failed to make the pressure count.


Our performance at times was somewhat scrappy, we looked stretched defensively and a little disorganised, and we went 2-1 down despite all that pressure. Then some poor control from Jason Puncheon led to Liam Bridcutt nipping in to steal the ball and feed Fletcher for his second goal and it was game over.


So what do we need? Well, to get back to that disciplined defensive organised system which served us so well last season is the basic requirement where the forwards chase and press, followed by the midfield as then the defence push up and get tight. You can call it the chain reaction and everyone behind the front men know that they must react quickly for it to be effective.


Then any ball that is cleared is contested and won, the second ball is retrieved and we play from a better position. Too many times we didn’t appear to move in harmony together. Last season we sat deep, brought teams onto us and caught them with the counter attack.


You have an area of responsibility in front of you and you have a duty to the team to do your bit. Being compact, tight defensively, organised on set pieces and nice and solid. Those words seemed to best describe us last season and I’m sure the team will get back to those principles on the training ground very soon.


I believe going forward we'll have a change of luck and I always feel we’ll score. From 10 games this season we have only failed to score twice whereas last season we failed to score in six of our opening 10 games.


We are in a better place than last season, but we know we should be even better off than where we are. That’s four games without a win now, so it's time to end this run and who better to do it against than Manchester United away? Then it's Liverpool at home! Well let's face it, would we rather be playing Blackpool or Bolton?


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