Jack Ross was left disappointed as Sunderland opened their pre-season account with a defeat at Darlington but admitted there were some positive aspects from his side’s display.
In a game where both sides had plenty of chances at Blackwell Meadows, the friendly was separated by just the one goal which came from Jordan Nicholson on nine minutes.
At the other end, Alim Ozturk saw his effort cleared off the line before Lee Cattermole and Josh Maja were denied by the woodwork.
Andrew Nelson then bent an effort a fraction wide from an acute angle as Sunderland were left to reflect on a defeat in their first friendly ahead of the 2018-19 season.
“There were aspects of our performance that were ok,” he said.
“In the first half hour of the game we were very passive, and we played it like it was a friendly and they played it like it was a competitive game.
“After that, we did ok, but we can play a lot better. I don’t think the pitch helped the players but on the plus side the lads got some minutes in the tank.
“There are a lot of things we need to work on and improve upon in the coming weeks for the first league game.
“Darlington were always going to make the game competitive – that’s why we take these kind of games on.”
He continued: “As I mentioned there are a lot of things we need to improve on but ultimately it is about being ready for the first league game.
“That is what these weeks and games are all about.”