By Kevin Phillips

9th Oct, 2021 | 5:00pm

Phillips slams four Sunderland players after 'terrible' reveal

Kevin Phillips has slammed the “terrible” defence which started for Sunderland at Portsmouth.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the Stadium of Light legend insisted the “poor” display “cannot be repeated” if promotion is to be realised.

Lee Johnson’s side slipped to second in League One after they were beaten 4-0 at Fratton Park last Saturday.

The back four, which consisted of Carl Winchester, Tom Flanagan, Bailey Wright and Dennis Cirkin, lost possession a combined 82 times over the course of the match. (Sofascore)

Phillips suggested the “worst thing” to come after a defeat is an international break.

“You cannot afford to be doing that,” he told Football Insider. “Those stats paint a poor picture.

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“They must learn from it. There will always be games when you are not at the races though. I was speaking to people who were at the game and they said Sunderland were terrible on the day. It was just a day to forget.

“Players did not perform and the conditions were difficult. It was a poor performance. You will allow it but it cannot be repeated.

“The worst thing for the players is the timing of the international break. They have had to stew on that result. They would have wanted to play today so they could get back to winning ways. Hopefully it doesn’t effect their campaign moving forward because they’ve been excellent so far.”

In other news, Kevin Phillips has heaped praise on Lee Johnson after a senior player’s Sunderland transfer admission.