NEW signing Carlos Cuellar was thrilled to make his Sunderland debut last night – even though it was in a game which saw him lose possession of the Peace Cup.
The 31-year-old was in Martin O’Neill’s victorious team when Aston Villa beat Juventus to claim the Peace Cup the last time it was contested, in 2009, so technically, Villa, O’Neill and Cuellar are still the holders.
But the Spaniard will not be able to defend the title after Sunderland’s 1-0 loss to Seongnam meant they the Wearsiders will be contesting third and fourth spot on Sunday.
And the experienced centre-half admitted he was disappointed by that.
“It would have been good,” he said. “I played in the Peace Cup final in 2009 and it was great for me in particular that it was held in Spain.
”I would have loved to have got to the Peace Cup final for the second time in a row and would have loved to have won the tournament again.
“But it was tough for us in this game – we had just come back into pre-season and we were up against fitter opponents.
“We are disappointed.
“We went close and we might have got an equaliser, but it wasn’t to be.”
The centre-half, though, on as a 60th-minute substitute for Titus Bramble, was delighted to pull on the red and white stripes of Sunderland for the first time and start a new chapter in his career.
“It is exciting for me,” he said.
“And after training with the lads for a few days I’m so happy to have finally put on the shirt and played in a competitive match.
“Now I have my first game under my belt, I simply want to improve and I want the team to improve
“We have trained so hard over the last week and we came close to matching a Seongnam team which is half-way through its season – so that tells me that our team is getting there and is going to get stronger.”