Phillips: Sunderland handed promotion advantage after Johnson reveal
Kevin Phillips has insisted “it’s not a huge disaster” Sunderland crashed out of the Football League Trophy.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the Stadium of Light legend suggested the cup exit could actually help the Black Cats in their quest for promotion.
Sunderland’s hopes of defending the Football League Trophy ended after a 1-0 defeat at home to Oldham on Wednesday.
Lee Johnson named a young lineup for the clash at the Stadium of Light.
Speaking to club media after the loss (1 December), Johnson said the game was “too much” for his youngsters who “need to do more”.
When asked by Football Insider for his assessment of Johnson’s comments, Phillips said: “It is a really difficult one.
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“First and foremost, the priority is getting out of League One. They have had a couple of good results in the league and that should be the focus.
“I don’t think it will do them any harm in the long run, getting knocked out of that cup.
“I understand the manager coming out and saying the young players have not taken their opportunity when given to them. It is not a huge disaster, going out.
“The slight dampener is that these players have not proved that they are ready to step up when there is injuries.
“It is a shame they didn’t but it’s not a disaster. Now they can solely concentrate on the league.”