Zenden is baffled by Sunderland’s away form

BOLO Zenden admits Sunderland’s away-day blues are continuing to hamper the Black Cats’ season.

Bolo Zenden

BOLO Zenden admits Sunderland’s away-day blues are continuing to hamper the Black Cats’ season.

The Wearsiders have just a solitary away league win – at Bolton on the opening day of the season – to show for their 17 road trips this term.

Saturday’s 1-0 reverse at West Ham made it a dozen defeats away from home for Steve Bruce’s side this season.

Top scorer Darren Bent missed the best chance of salvaging a point at Upton Park when he lost his footing when he found himself with only goalkeeper Rob Green to beat.

Just seven of the Wearsiders’ 38 points have been picked up on their travels and hugely-experienced former Middlesbrough, Barcelona, Chelsea and Liverpool midfielder Zenden says nobody can explain why their away record is so poor.

He said: “If you can tell me why we struggle for results away from home then please do, I cannot work it out!

“Honestly, I don’t know how it has been in the past – but the results on the road just are not coming.

“You can say it is bad luck. Sometimes you can say you have played well and lost, but in the end you take what you deserve.

“If Benty had taken his chance then maybe the game would have changed, but it didn’t and we have to take that.

“I will not tell you what was said in the dressing room but put it like this, if you want to compete in this league you need consistency.

“That is the main problem, it is one of the things we must address.

“In a few games’ time the season will be behind us and we need to start putting that lack of consistency right now.

“Our focus is to get tenth spot, but that is far away now.” Relegation strugglers West Ham needed the points more than Sunderland and many felt that was evident in the level of commitment and desire the two sides showed.

Zenden disagrees, saying: “West Ham have a fight on their hands and maybe that was the difference, but I don’t want to say they were more up for it than ourselves.

“They scored the first goal, their fans got behind them and it gave the team a lift.

“The game got a bit more bad-tempered later on and maybe we should have approached the game like that from the start – not when we were 1-0 down.

“That was more like it and we forced them to defend the result.”

Zenden is a former Chelsea teammate of West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola and Sunderland’s Dutch midfielder would be happy to see his friend lead the Hammers to safety – although he was disappointed what could be a turning point for the Londoners came at the Black Cats’ expense.

He added: “We came for three points and Gianfranco Zola’s side being safer after this is not really my concern.

“However, fair enough to West Ham and their manager. This could be a turning point for them.” Zenden is in talks with Sunderland over extending his stay on Wearside for another year, but has made it known he would like a bigger role if he is to sign a new 12-month deal.

He has been used mainly as a substitute late on in games this season, and he again only saw 18 minutes of action against the Hammers.

Bruce has put his faith in youngsters Jordan Henderson and David Meyler to complement the more experienced Lee Cattermole, Lorik Cana and Steed Malbranque, and Zenden believes they have made a big impact.

He said: “The young lads who have come in have done really well.”


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