MICHAEL BEALE has admitted he was forced to read the riot act at the half-time interval of Sunderland’s 1-1 draw at Rotherham United this evening.

The Black Cats dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes at the New York Stadium, but failed to seriously threaten Viktor Johansson in the Milles goal as they struggled to make an impression in the final third.

They fell behind when Sam Clucas fired home at the start of the second half, but rallied in the final half-hour to earn a point courtesy of Jack Clarke’s deflected long-range strike.

Beale said: “We had to have a real honest conversation at half-time because we didn't really execute our game plan in the first half. We were sloppy and they were compact, they made it difficult for us. Leam (Richardson) has got them moving and they got a really good result at the weekend.

“At half-time, we needed to really commit to our game plan and unfortunately we started the second half in the worst possible way, we could have defended better in the build-up but it's a fantastic strike.

“After that, I was pleased with our reaction and by the end, I felt we'd run out of time. So, there is frustration, but it's the third game in seven days and I'm pleased with the response of the players.”

Beale was especially frustrated with his side’s reluctance to pull the trigger for much of the night, with neither Jobe Bellingham nor Adil Aouchiche looking particularly well suited to the central-striker role in the first half.

Mason Burstow also failed to make an impact after the break, so it was left to Clarke to salvage a point with his 12th league goal of the season.

Asked how he could increase his side’s attacking threat, Beale said: “You could put a striker in, but if we try to walk it in as a team... I want us to be less fussy and more spiteful in the final third.

“We look like we're going to score an unbelievable team goal, but you see there, we take a shot and it gets deflected in, that's the kind of thing we've been talking about.

“We do so much good work but ultimately, it's about less goals, but we need to take less touches and be less fussy. There's got to be an end product from our possession. Three shots on target from 70 per cent possession isn't enough.”