Alex Neil’s wait for a first win at Sunderland continues as he watched his side draw 1-1 with Burton at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday.
Former Manchester United defender Cameron Borthwick-Jackson put Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side ahead as he drilled in a superb effort into the bottom corner.
Anthony Patterson prevented the away side from doubling their lead as he made a smart block with his feet to deny Christon Saydee as the forward raced through on goal unopposed by a defender.
The Black Cats eventually found their equaliser in stoppage time as top-scorer Ross Stewart provided the goods yet again – heading the ball down into the bottom corner from an Alex Pritchard cross to rescue a point for his side.
One player who was unable to make such an impact and let Neil down badly in the match was the Scot’s strike partner Jermain Defoe.
The veteran centre-forward was handed his first start since returning to the club on a free transfer and did not enjoy a successful night.
At the age of 39, he is not the player he once was at the Stadium of Light and a degree of patience is needed with the ex-England international, as it may take him time to settle in and start to show his quality on the pitch.
He struggled badly against Burton as he failed to get himself involved in the game for large spells before being hauled off the pitch in the 70th minute. This could be put down to a lack of match-fitness as he did not look as sharp as you would expect a player as classy as Defoe to be on and off the ball.
As per SofaScore, he only had 16 touches in his 70 minutes – fewer than Patterson’s 41 – and completed a measly seven passes. This shows that he found it difficult to get himself on the ball and engaged in the build-up play, whilst Stewart had 42 touches and won nine duels as he managed three shots on target and three key passes.
Defoe, meanwhile, failed to register a single shot on target or create a chance for one of his teammates, which shows that he had next to no impact in the final third.
His strike partner was showing him how it should be done and Neil will surely be disappointed with the Englishman’s display as he put faith in him by naming him in the starting XI.