Keates left fuming at Walsall's same old errors
Walsall boss Dean Keates has warned his players they will never play at a higher level if they don't learn to manage games better.
The Saddlers let a two-goal lead slip to draw with 10-man Sunderland at the Banks's Stadium on Saturday.
After goals from Josh Gordon and Josh Ginnelly put them in the ascendancy, Keates' men missed a number of decent chances to put the game to bed.
And Sunderland then went on to score two goals – both of which could have been prevented.
"Decision making in football is massive – the best players make the best decisions," Keates said.
"If they don’t learn, if they don’t take on the information, if they don’t make better decisions, they won’t go higher in their career.
"Week-in, week-out we are talking about the same things.
"For long periods against Sunderland we played well but we should have been more clinical.
"We created opportunities but didn’t go on and get that third or even a fourth goal.
"You look at their goals, we have got bodies around it, but it is too easy – that is where we need to do better.
"And at the other end we need to take more and be more consistent with our own chances."
Promotion favourites Sunderland, who saw Max Power sent off in the first-half, netted their equaliser in the 89th minute through Lynden Gooch.
But while Keates admitted the goal was a bitter pill to swallow, he said he will remind his players of the positives from their performance ahead of the trip to Portsmouth tomorrow.
"The players were down, they were disappointed after the game but that is because of the situation they were in – we were 2-0 up against 10-men," Keates continued.
"There were a lot of positive and we see it as a point gained.
"For long periods of the game we played good football. We were bright and we were sharp.
"We will be ready for Portsmouth. We will be underdogs again but we will go down there and do our best."