Miserable return to Cardiff for Coleman

Sunderland manager Chris Coleman during the FA Cup, third round match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. Photo: backpagepix

LONDON - Former Wales manager Chris Coleman endured a terrible return to a ground where he enjoyed some memorable moments on Saturday as Sunderland went down to a 4-0 defeat by Cardiff City in the Championship.

The 47-year-old -- who guided Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals but stood down after they missed out on a play-off spot for the World Cup -- cut a glum figure as his side fell apart following Didier Ndong's straight red card in the 49th minute.

Defeat left Sunderland rooted to the bottom of the table and in danger of successive relegations.

"We made a poor mistake and you can't do that where we are," said Coleman, who replaced Simon Grayson in December.

"Well, you can -- but if you do we will stay where we are.

"It's a soft mentality because toughness is not about nailing someone and putting them on their backside.

"It's easy to do that. Toughness is mental, staying strong and making consistently good decisions."

Victory for Cardiff ended a run of four successive league defeats and they lie third, 12 points off leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers, who were held 0-0 at Barnsley.

Derby County are second, 10 points behind Wolves after recording a fine 3-0 win at their manager Gary Rowett's former club Birmingham City.

Czech Republic international striker Matej Vydra was among their scorers, taking his tally to a Championship-leading 16 goals for the campaign.

"At times we did seem to overplay the ball, but we created good chances and we got into some really good positions," Rowett told the BBC.

"I don't like games when we attack, then they attack, then we attack -- I just felt the subs settled that down a bit in this game.

"Well done to Cardiff, but that doesn't matter to us. The lads watched the game, but it doesn't matter. We control what happens to us."

Defeat ended Birmingham's run of two straight wins, leaving them just a point above Sunderland.

League Cup giantkillers Bristol City's exploits appear to have caught up with them as they slipped to a fifth successive defeat in all competitions, losing 1-0 at home to Norwich City.

James Maddison scored his eighth of the season -- giving the Canaries their third win in four games -- to beat the League Cup semi-finalists and leave them fourth in the table, five points adrift of Derby.

"I always feared this period of games and perhaps we are victims of our cup success," conceded City manager Lee Johnson.

"The Manchester City game in midweek (they lost 2-1 to a late Sergio Aguero goal in the League Cup semi-final first leg) took a huge amount of energy out of the players."


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