MARTIN O’Neill was disappointed but not surprised by the fact Manchester City rescued a point against Sunderland thanks to two late, late goals.
The Wearsiders looked to be favourites to take all three points with a 3-1 lead heading into the last five minutes on Saturday.
But O’Neill said: “I knew they were always capable of that sort of comeback – they did it only recently against Chelsea.
“That’s the sort of resilience you get when you have won 15 consecutive games here on your ground.
“They’re also second in the league, so they are a very, very good team, and they were never out of the match because they have so many match-winners.
“I think we got a little bit tired with the exertions of Tuesday night and also maybe the disappointment of Tuesday night – although we did seem to put that to one side and performed excellently.
“It was a combination of Manchester City fighting back and us getting a little bit tired.”
City getting a somewhat dubious penalty didn’t help Sunderland’s cause when Edin Dzeko went over Craig Gardner in the box and O’Neill observed: “I thought initially the referee was going to book their player for diving.
“That was my first thought – but I should have known better!
“Referees have a difficult job, I must admit, and I should preface everything by saying that. But I spoke to the referee in the tunnel at the end as he was coming off
“I assume he has seen it since, and he told me he thought it was a penalty.
“That kind of confused me a bit, but there you go. I didn’t think it was and I think the replays will show that.
“It was really disappointing because it was a major blow to us a couple of minutes before half-time – I know we scored just after that, but the referee wasn’t to know that.
“It shouldn’t detract, though, from our performance, which was terrific. The players were really disappointed in the dressing room.
“After the real disappointment of Tuesday night, it was a brilliant performance by the team. Not only did we show some spirit, but also great ability. We passed it and we scored great goals in the game.”