SUNDERLAND manager Alex Neil has reaffirmed his club’s stance in the transfer market that strength in depth is required before the window slams shut at the end of the month.

The Black Cats have made a strong start to their league season with one win and one draw from two but suffered their first defeat in 18 games last night losing 2-0 to Sheffield Wednesday in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

Neil made 11 changes for the game at Hillsborough in what turned out to be a less than eventful game in Sheffield but the performance has not altered any thinking on the transfer front.

He said: “That’s not something I’m saying as a reaction to this evening. Every single press conference that we have spoke about in the last month, I have said the exact same thing.

“I’ve not changed my stance on that, that is what is it and we need to strengthen the squad.

 “What I want it to be at the end of the window is for it to be the strongest squad possible. Every single manager will be the exact same because it gives me the chance of winning games. What happens if I lose key players, I’ve got other guys that can come in a do a job.

“Like I say some of those lads playing tonight will have a massive bearing on what our season looks like so I’m certainly not going to judge them too harshly.”

His team selection for the game included players that were playing out of position which the manager felt was a telling difference in the game between the two sides.

Neil continued: “That certainly wasn’t my intention. I do believe that the team that was on the pitch, if we performed as well as we can, could win the game.

“Sheffield Wednesday won the match but I certainly didn’t think they were free flowing or look considerably better than us. What I did think they had was players in positions that play. They arguably probably looked more of a threat because they turned the ball forward and put balls into the box.

“With the personnel we’ve got available, that was why in playing the game that became tough for us.”

So far, Sunderland’s business in the transfer market has seen Daniel Ballard, Aji Alese, Jack Clarke and Ellis Simms join the club. However, Sunderland did miss out on a deal for Nathan Broadhead who made the decision to join Wigan Athletic on loan.