Tony Mowbray reflects on Sunderland’s season after play-off defeat

The Black Cats’ campaign ended last night at Kenilworth Road when they suffered a 2-0 defeat by Luton Town in the second leg of their play-off semi-final.

Luton’s 3-2 aggregate win means they travel a week to Wembley on Saturday to face either Middlesbrough or Coventry City, while injury-plagued Sunderland side lick their wounds and contemplate what could have been.

“We’re all disappointed,” Mowbray said after first-half goals from Gabe Osho and Tom Lockyer last night settled matters. “We knew what to expect.


“It was really a physical confrontation. You were very direct. We knew that was happening and they scored from set pieces. The potential for that was always there, it happened on Saturday.

“It was frustrating that we couldn’t score. We feel like we’ll always score even without our main striker, so we’re frustrated. But I’m very proud of the team, very proud of the fans and very proud of the city of Sunderland. We’re going to get stronger and we’ll be back next season.”

Having only been promoted from the first division via the play-offs last season, Sunderland’s main goal early in the season was to successfully consolidate their position in the Championship and avoid a relegation battle.

They achieved far more than that, finishing sixth and making the play-offs despite suffering a series of injuries that left their top scorer, captain and three key centre-backs for much of the second half of the season had to do without.

“First and foremost we have to talk about the team and how proud I am of these young guys who have given everything they have week after week,” Mowbray said. “We have some pretty good footballers and have won a lot of games this year.

“I do believe that the league will be stronger next season. Not to mention the teams that are relegated from the Premier League, the teams that are promoted from League One are strong and have a lot of viewers.

“We have to keep building and growing, we have to get better and find a way to make our players more available for the football games.” Tony Mowbray reflects on Sunderland’s season after play-off defeat

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