PHIL Bardsley believes Sunderland have the defensive strength to ensure a good finish to the season – despite the Black Cats conceding three goals at the weekend.
The club’s current Player of the Season was delighted with the way the rearguard stifled for long periods a Manchester City side which has scored more goals than any other Premier League side this season.
And he was equally pleased that on a day when just about everyone expected the Black Cats to become City’s 16th home scalp out of 16 this season, the Wearsiders tore up the script.
He said: “I thought it was an excellent performance from us defensively. There’s not much you can do when a penalty is awarded against you and I thought we were unlucky with the way the late goals went in.
“But before that, the attitude we showed and the commitment was fantastic. It was a pleasure to be a part of it because everyone was getting blocks and tackles in all over the pitch.
“In the back four, Jack Colback was great coming in at left-back and the two centre-halves were fantastic throughout.
“There was a load of communication and talking going on in the defence, and that’s what you need, especially in a big game like the City one.
“I thought it was a great performance and we definitely deserved to get something out of the game, it’s just a pity it wasn’t all three points.
“To concede a couple of late goals is really disappointing but over the course of the 90 minutes we got through a tremendous amount of work defensively and stopped so much from happening.”
City have not dropped a single point in 15 home games before Saturday but the former Manchester United player was far from impressed by the City’s Premier league title credentials.
“They weren’t the team that they’ve been made out to, be to honest,” he shrugged. “They weren‘t that impressive. But I wouldn’t want that to take anything away from our performance, because I thought we did really well.”
Bardsley says Saturday’s efforts have also helped the team put the disappointment of their FA Cup display behind them, and he is now looking forward to Easter games against Spurs on Saturday and then away to Everton on Monday.
“We have a great chance of going in the right direction now,” he said.
“We needed to come into the game and not let our heads drop. We had to really put a shift in against City, and we did.”