U21 Reaction: Hewitson on Boro defeat

John Hewitson has delivered his verdict on Sunderland Under-21s’ defeat by Middlesbrough at Heritage Park.


Calum Kavanagh’s early headed goal was supplemented by Hayden Hackney’s deflected free-kick, immediately after Edouard Michut had been issued a second yellow card by the referee.


“I don’t think we tested their goalkeeper enough tonight, and individual errors did cost us in the end,” Hewitson admitted.


“We created a few chances and competed more in the second half, but then the red card and straight away the second goal killed the game really.


“When we were 1-0 down, we started to get our tails up and got into the ascendancy, and at the other end Alex Bass made a good save to keep it at just the one goal. But, like I say, it was that sort of double-whammy of the decision to send Edou off and then the deflected free-kick going in which put it out of our reach.”


The interim U21 Lead Coach did however point out the purpose that the side provides, with Tony Mowbray in attendance and on hand to deliver a message at full-time to a squad which combined teenage players with first-team squad members.


“It’s invaluable for the young lads to get experience playing alongside the first-team senior players, like I said in my pre-match,” stated Hewitson.


“The U21s setup serves a purpose because it gives the new management team the chance to properly observe the younger players, and it gives an opportunity for senior players to get minutes in their legs that they need.


“We’ve got plenty of games coming up, so it’s just about ensuring that the boys take on board what has been said to them by us as staff.”

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