Sunderland under-18s have stuttered at the start of 2019-20 season but manager Paul Bryson is remaining optimistic that his team can learn from their mistakes quickly and start climbing the table.
Last weekend, the Lads lost 4-1 against Stoke City at the Academy of Light where they could rue some bad luck before being punished for key defensive mistakes.
This weekend they face Wolverhampton Wanderers at home in search of their first points of the season.
“We were really young last weekend," Bryson explained.
"We had seven under-17s and one under-16 starting which might not sound like a big deal, but the physicality difference between first-year scholars and those have had a few years to develop full time is massive.
“Long term, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing for them to go against older sides, but it does make getting results in the short term difficult.
He added: “We were heavily punished for individual mistakes last weekend against Stoke and we have to nullify that going into the game this weekend.”
“Collectively, we want a clean sheet this weekend. Can we stop the opposition and cut out the basic errors?
“Overall, we changed the formation last weekend and we looked comfortable in it. In and out of possession the shape was good, but the errors are costing us and we have been punished heavily over the last couple of weeks.”
“Personnel wise there isn’t many changes. We have seven injuries to our first team players which makes it difficult.
“Ryan Gooch should be back this weekend but other than that, we won’t have anyone back. It gives an opportunity for other players to shine.”