League One round-up: Boss of Portsmouth rivals Sunderland gives damning 'men against boys' verdict after heavy Rotherham loss as Sheffield Wednesday players 'row' following draw at Cheltenham

Sunderland boss Lee Johnson has described his side’s 5-1 hammering against Rotherham as ‘men against boys’.

Sunday, 31st October 2021, 12:00 pm

And he added his Black Cats cannot afford any more capitulations or catastrophes after suffering a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Pompey less than a month ago.

The defeat – Sunderland’s fourth of the season – sees them drop to fifth in the table, while the in-form Millers move up to fourth.

They now turn their attentions to Tuesday night’s visit to Sheffield Wednesday.

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But before that, Johnson vented his frustration at his team’s latest display.

He told ChronicleLive: ‘It's a really poor day for us. It's a massive opportunity missed.

‘It's three points that we wanted, but I don't think we showed that anywhere near enough.

Sunderland boss Lee Johnson. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images

‘It was men against boys, it really was, from start to finish.

‘The amount of lazy fouls we made, we looked leggy, we were everywhere the ball has just been - how far do you want me to go with how poor we were?

‘It's really disappointing and I'm hurting badly, the players are hurting badly, and the fans will be hurting badly.

‘We have to learn the lesson but we have already had a couple of those lessons, at Portsmouth and what have you, and we've continued with the same pattern, so whether now it's a change of personnel, a change of tactics, additions in January, there's clearly something we have to snuff out to be more solid at times when we are under the cosh.

‘Our big losses seem like a catastrophe and a capitulation.

‘I've managed and played in teams that lose games, but you lose by the odd goal or by a mistake.

‘This was a bad one, and we have to limit these to one or two per season maximum.’

Sunderland go to Hillsborough, however, when all is not good in the Wednesday camp either.

Darren Moore’s side threw away to 2-1 lead at Pompey’s opponents on Tuesday night, Cheltenham, by conceding a goal in the last minute.

The 2-2 end result was Wednesday’s fourth draw in a row.

It leaves them eighth in the table and Moore having to deal with the fallout of a ‘healthy debate’ among the players in the changing room afterwards.

Speaking to The Owls’ website, defender Chey Dunkley said: ‘It feels like a loss again, I’ll be honest with you.

‘Collectively we were disappointed and we had a little row at the end of the game between players - because we’re frustrated.

‘Look, we’ve gone up in the table, but still it’s two points dropped.’

He added to the press: ‘There was a heavy debate, I’d say, in the dressing room after the game.

‘That’s just frustration coming out. We’re not happy about it, but we have to dust ourselves down.

‘We got ourselves into a position where we’re 2-1 up, and we’re desperate to win, but it was a healthy debate – we need to start taking responsibility, there needs to be accountability when we’re on the pitch. It should have been a win.’

There’s no sign of frustration at Plymouth as the Pilgrims remain top of the table following their 2-1 win against Ipswich, who are 11th.

But in a worrying message to the rest of the division, boss Ryan Lowe admitted there’s still more to come from his side.

He told PlymouthLive: ‘I said to the group in there (the Argyle dressing room) good performances make you a very good team but you have got to be a very, very good team, and then an excellent team and then a brilliant team.

‘You have got to keep going. We have worked hard to get where we are so far this season.

‘We have got to try and maintain that and if we do we will see where it takes us.’

Tractor Boys boss Paul Cook said: ‘Plymouth have got some good players going forward, they score goals and they were a threat. But the goals we give away aren’t good enough.

‘The chances we create are good chances that we have to work to get and at the opposite end it’s not so (much the case).

‘A bitterly disappointing day but there’s no time for anything other than to look forward.’

Other results: Cambridge United1-0 AFC Wimbledon, Charlton 4-0Doncaster Rovers, Crewe1-4 MK Dons, Fleetwood 3-3 Wycombe, Gillingham 0-0 Accrington, Lincoln 1-1 Shrewsbury, Oxford United 3-1 Morecambe, Wigan 2-0 Burton Albion.