Sunderland caretaker manager Kevin Ball believes it is important the club do not allow Jozy Altidore to get frustrated during his goal drought.
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The American centre forward joined the Black Cats from AZ Alkmaar in the summer after a fine form in the Eredivisie, hitting over 30 goals in his final campaign with the club. However, his brief time in the Premier League has not as yet proved as potent.
Denied his first league goal against Arsenal a fortnight ago when referee Martin Atkinson halted the play for a foul, the US international endured another tough afternoon Sunday as the Black Cats were bested 3-1 by Liverpool.
Speaking after the game, Altidore’s manager Ball revealed he saw positives in the striker’s performance as he prepares to sit down with him and discuss how to break his Premier League duck.
“I think from Jozy’s point of view he wants to score goals," Ball said. "What’s important is that we don’t allow him to get frustrated like that. I think it’s important he understands his role within the team that yes, maybe predominantly be to score us goals, but also to help others score goals.
“There’s parts of his game, especially today, that I looked at and thought ‘yeah I’d have liked to have seen him turn and shoot himself there’.
“I think at times he could do that. We’re not asking him to be more selfish or anything, but pick times when he can do that, but that’s something we’ll sit down and talk to him about.”
With Sunderland currently bottom of the Premier League and the only side currently without a win this season, many on Wearside are fearful of a campaign ending in relegation.
But despite conceding three goals in a game for the fourth time this season, Ball is adamant that his side gave their all, and that is all that can be asked.
“I’d be a fool if I wasn’t encouraged by it, they’ve worked hard this week," Ball said. "They’ve had two games, yes they would have liked to got a result in the game today but it most definitely wasn’t for the want of trying and going forward.
“I’ve told them that must always be the case irrespective of whoever is in charge, they must be the ones who drive it in, not necessarily the man in charge.”