Yann M'Vila sent off as Sunderland defeat City 3-1DMITRI Halajko’s first game as Norwich City Under-21s manager ended in defeat at Sunderland as a quick-fire Black Cats treble proved pivotal despite Josh Murphy’s late penalty.
Speaking after the Barclays Under-21s Premier League game, Halajko told Norwich City TV: “We’re really disappointed – we conceded three goals in five minutes which is not acceptable.
“We were dispossessed too easily and they exploited some poor defending. We know we can play a lot better than that.
Despite a balanced first 45 minutes in which both teams created chances, the hosts blitzed into a three-goal lead just before the break.
Mikael Mandron opened the scoring when he exchanged passes with Lynden Gooch, before sliding the ball under the onrushing Ben Killip on 38 minutes.
Gooch himself then got on the score-sheet just moments later, racing onto a through-ball from France international Yann M’Vila to slot home confidently.
With half-time looming, Mandron doubled his personal tally after a weighted chip from Charalampos Mavrias hit the bar, with the Sunderland striker on hand to head into an empty net.
A major talking point midway through the second half was the sending off of home débutante M’Vila, following an altercation with Jamar Loza off the ball. M'Vila saw a straight red after leading with his head in the incident.
The Canaries managed to exploit the subsequent man advantage three minutes from time, Josh Murphy calmly sweeping home from the spot after Loza was felled in the box.
However, it proved to be little more than a consolation as Sunderland saw out the game to register a 3-1 victory, and Halajko added: “We have to improve before the Leicester game and we need to tighten up at the back.
“Looking further forward, we need to be more dangerous up-front and have that cutting edge. The boys can gain a lot of experience from playing against some top professionals today, many of whom have played a lot of high-level football.
“However, the bottom line is we need to pick ourselves up and learn from the game in order to improve.”
Sunderland XI: Stryjek; J Robson, T Robson, Agnew, Roberge, Beadling, Mavrias (E Robson 84), M’Vila, Mandron, Gooch (Greenwood, 81), Buckley (Smith, 70). Subs not used: Brady, Talbot. Sent off: M’Vila (69)
Norwich XI: Killip; Norman, Efete, Thompson, Crowe (Eaton-Collins, 81), Coker, Jacob Murphy, McGrandles, Loza, King (Grant, 70), Josh Murphy. Subs not used: Oxborough, Ramsay.
Photo courtesy of Paul Watson Photography