Sunderland boss Michael Beale claims Wear-Tyne derby defeat will aid Championship campaign

Michael Beale believes Sunderland's derby day defeat will help his side during the rest of the season. Credit: PA

Sunderland head coach Michael Beale believes the 3-0 defeat to Newcastle in the Wear-Tyne derby will help his players during the rest of the season.

The Black Cats were outclassed at the Stadium of Light as the Magpies lived up to their billing as pre-match favourites thanks to an Alexander Isak double and Daniel Ballard own goal.

Sunderland's focus will now return to the Championship as they seek to earn promotion to the Premier League next season.

Speaking after the game, Beale claimed that the experience will serve his side well as they seek to return to the highest stage despite admitting that it would not be any consolation to fans at this stage.

Newcastle United were comfortable winners at the Stadium of Light. Credit: PA

"Ultimately on the day, there was a difference between the two teams in terms of experience and maybe know-how," he told ITV Sport. "The gap is feedback for us if we are really honest with ourselves now in terms of moving forward.

"That won't be the words for the fans to hear right now because it's a derby but it's the reality of where we are as a team. We want to give these young players the opportunity and responsibility.

"I think today was a big day for them in terms of feedback and we have to improve. I think if we use that today it will help us in our Championship campaign, for sure."

Sunderland were their own worst enemy at times during the 90 minutes and defensive mistakes played a significant part in all three goals. Yet Beale believes his squad will not dwell on the error and instead use them to drive themselves on going forwards.

"I don't think so," he said when asked if the defeat would knock his squad down. "If the players are honest with themselves in the gaps and improvements we've got to make.

"If the training goes up a level then this is not the level we will play in the Championship every week so we have to be brave to stick to our style.

"But it is a young group and we are still really optimistic and really positive."

Sunderland currently sit sixth in the Championship with 20 games still to go, starting away at high-flyers Ipswich Town next weekend, and Beale has urged the fans to get behind the squad despite the disappointing derby defeat.

"Stick with us there are 20 games still to go in the Championship," he said in a direct fan plea. "Our aim is to get in that play-off and in a one-off game against anyone we can win it.

"There will be a lot of hard work between now and then but believe in this young group. Today was a big eye-opener for them it hurts because it was a derby but the season's not ended now and we have 20 huge games still to go."

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