Chris Coleman urges his young Black Cats to keep on firing

Chris Coleman warned Sunderland’s teenage strikers to keep on working hard after Joel Asoro matched his friend Josh Maja with a goalscoring debut.

Asoro scored the only goal of a 1-0 home win against Hull on Saturday, on his first league start for the Black Cats.

In December his strike partner Maja marked his own maiden appearance with the winner against Fulham. They are Sunderland’s only home victories since December 2016.

“Josh got the winner against Fulham, and Joel got the winner today,” said boss Coleman.

“It was a fantastic goal, the passing and the movement and the finish was brilliant, so they deserve a pat on the back.

“There’s more to come, they have to keep working hard, they are by no means the finished article, they haven’t made it as a professional footballer yet.

“They’ve got contracts but we’re talking about seasoned players, there’s a long way to go yet and a lot of hard work.

“They’ve got to milk every last ounce of the minutes they get on the pitch and learn from it.”

Coleman has brought greater defensive solidity since taking over at Sunderland in November, and he also pointed to the importance of team spirit at the end of a week where he has struggled to make new signings.

He has also talked about how he will not pick Jack Rodwell because he says the three-time England international no longer wants to play for the club.

“It doesn’t matter what players you’ve got, it is all about having that harmony, you can’t do anything without unity, today I saw it,” said Coleman.

“The 11 games I have been here – five clean sheets, four wins – we’ve seen a lot of good signs but we’ve been slack one or twice. We had no clean sheets in the first 17 games, and now we’ve had five in the last 11, so there is improvement there.

“But is about consistency, and we have to go to Birmingham in the next game (on January 30) with the same attitude.”

Hull pushed hard for a second-half equaliser, but Nigel Adkins was concerned his Tigers gave the hosts the early initiative.

“We’ve not got the three points we needed and a team close to us in the division has,” he said. “I was concerned about how poor we were in the first 35 minutes.

“The warm-up was good, the mood in the dressing room was spot on and we go out there focused and for me we didn’t get anywhere near in the duels you need to win and be competitive in in a game of football.

“In the second half we were better and got the ball into the area but we couldn’t find the goal we needed and it’s a bad loss.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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