Sbragia challenges strikers
Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia has told Djibril Cisse and Kenwyne Jones they must learn to adapt.
Last Updated: 11/05/09 4:07pm
Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia has told Djibril Cisse and Kenwyne Jones they must learn to adapt if they are to end their recent barren run.
The two strikers have scored 21 goals between them this season but they have struggled in recent weeks, netting just once each in the club's last 11 games.
Sbragia decided to switch to a 4-5-1 formation at the weekend, with Cisse starting on the substitutes' bench and then replacing Jones midway through the second half.
The change did not have the desired effect as Sunderland were held to a goalless draw by Bolton, and Sbragia may opt to start with both men again at Portsmouth.
The Black Cats boss insists Cisse and Jones can forge a lethal partnership, although he feels they may have to adopt a different approach.
"What's happened, teams are closing down the width of the game," explained Sbragia.
"There's not a lot of space behind them, so they are finding it difficult to go behind, especially Djibril.
"He has to adapt his game a little bit more and he is finding that difficult.
"One of Djibril's major strengths is going forward. If you were playing against him, you would want him to be coming towards the ball.
"As a pair, they can probably get a little bit closer. Kenwyne did really well last year and when he came back from the injury, he was excellent.
"But he has not repeated that performance enough. It's a case of just persevering with them and getting on with it.
"You hope all the good things they did early-season will start coming back again."