CHRIS COLEMAN was quite reserved in his technical area at Villa Park last night, standing more often than not with his hands in his pockets.

Over the next few weeks it’s safe to assume he will be unable to stay quite as calm as he looks to lift Sunderland off the bottom of the Championship.

The tenth manager the Black Cats’ owner Ellis Short has hired during his nine years in control on Wearside has started in defeat, courtesy of a 2-1 loss at Aston Villa that had a very familiar feel to it. Even if a late flurry threatened to earn him a point for starters.

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Coleman has hardly had any time to engineer a change of approach since taking over on Sunday and, despite a few positive moments early on, it was a result the majority of people would have envisaged; this was a side rooted to the foot of the Championship on a midweek visit to one up to fourth in the promotion race, after all.

He was not as animated on the touchline as he has been during his time in charge of Wales, where he became well-known for his passion and his style.

On opening night as Sunderland boss there were only a couple of occasions when he could be seen almost losing his cool; one being when a foul wasn’t given for the challenge on Adam Matthews in the build up to the opening goal.

That was in the tenth minute when former Middlesbrough winger Albert Adomah tapped the home side ahead from the position where Matthews would have occupied.

Not even his move to wait to usher every one of his players into the tunnel at half-time had the desired effect, clearly looking to use his supportive side to try to spark a turnaround. Villa extended their advantage four minutes into the second half when Joshua Onomah’s shot deflected in off Tyias Browning.

That proved enough to see Sunderland’s winless run extend to 16 matches, dating back to the second game of the season when they secure their only win at Norwich.

Now Coleman will spend the rest of the week looking to build on the fighting spirit they showed to get back into this when Lewis Grabban scored his tenth for the club with 17 minutes remaining.

And how the 47-year-old need things to happen quickly. The next two are significant matches at Burton, three points above them, on Saturday and at home to Reading, who are already eight points clear of them despite sitting 19th, on December 2.

It was hardly the perfect start for Coleman, with eight players ruled out for one reason or another including the blow that Duncan Watmore is facing the second lengthy lay-off his career with a knee injury.

His first task as manager was to make five changes because of the list of absentees, with a youthful feel to the side after naming Browning, George Honeyman and Lynden Gooch in his first starting line-up.

The Welshman looked relaxed in his first pre-match walk, quickly applauding the Sunderland fans who had made the trip, but stopping a promotion chasing Villa side from making further progress under Bruce was always going to be a tough task just two days into his reign.

In fairness, despite the short turnaround, there were plenty of positives for him to take forward. But, like many times before even under Simon Grayson, an encouraging start soon became a poor one.

Coleman, standing in his technical area with a dark suit and an open necked shirt, looked reasonably satisfied with the opening ten minutes. Grabban made plenty of runs in behind the defence, while the team retained possession confidently.

But when space opened up in front of Matthews, he darted inside and deep into the Villa half from his right-back role and then found himself tackled and left floored. Even though sitting midfielder Darron Gibson had filled in, the Villans exposed the weakness.

The counter-attack ended with Rob Snodgrass delivering a perfect cross to the back post where former Boro winger Adomah was undetected to side-foot inside Robbin Ruiter’s near post.

It was not Ruiter, after his calamitous weekend, to blame this time, and in fairness Matthews could not really be criticised for moving forward. Given Sunderland’s perilous situation, though, there is an argument that Sunderland should have been more defensive.

At that stage Sunderland looked the brighter of the two offensively, with Villa supporters quick to get on the back of their team because of a reluctance to move the ball forward. They clearly had the attacking talent to do the damage.

But, despite a couple of dangerous attacks from Sunderland involving Grabban and Aiden McGeady which goalkeeper Sam Johnstone had to be alert to, it was still Aston Villa who went closest to extending the lead before the break.

Snodgrass, with a lack of support, had to go it alone on that occasion. He wriggled his way through a couple of tackles on the edge of the box and with just Ruiter to beat the Dutch keeper managed to flick it behind for a corner.

There was plenty of movement from Grabban and the four men behind him – Callum McManaman, Gooch, Honeyman and McGeady – and yet there was still a lack of genuine threat to Johnstone’s goal when they got near to the box.

That was a combination of some strong defensive play from a defence well marshalled by James Chester – who, along with Neil Taylor, played for Wales under Coleman just a week earlier against Panama – and the lack of that killer final ball.

Despite Coleman’s teamtalk and attempts to spark a revival at the break, the challenge became greater inside four minutes of the restart when Villa added the second. Again it was cheap, and left Sunderland staring at defeat number nine.

Onomah, the England prospect on loan from Tottenham, had no right to find the net from just outside the area when he picked up possession. His hopeful effort, however, took a heavy touch off Browning and the ball floated into the top right corner of Ruiter’s net.

At that point Sunderland could have rolled over, instead they found an extra gear to make a game of it. After Bryan Oviedo’s initial shot was parried by Johnstone, McGeady picked up possession near the byline.

The Irishman clipped a delivery into the six yard box where substitute James Vaughan, introduced to switch to a two man attack, nodded down for Grabban to hook a finish high into the Villa net.

There were a couple of late attacks to raise hopes for Coleman and Co, but there was to be no way through and no dream start for the new Sunderland boss.