Gary Rowell: Sunderland restored pride at Man City

Nicklas Bendtner
Nicklas Bendtner
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SUNDERLAND’S game against Manchester City at the weekend was unbelievable stuff – full of drama and quality and talking points.

I was absolutely delighted with the way we played.

Conceding two goals in the last five minutes was disappointing but for the first 85 minutes we were brilliant and worthy leaders.

What I wanted to see on Saturday was a response from Sunderland to their poor showing in the Everton game last week and boy did they give one.

We all felt let down by the performance in the FA Cup quarter-final and I still find it hard to let go, one week later.

But Saturday’s game was the best possible reaction to that defeat.

I know people might be disappointed by the fact it ended in a draw but I’m not, because I came away having got far more than I expected from the game.

Obviously I would have loved to have seen Sunderland win but to go into a fixture like that and play the way we did, and to score three goals away from home on a ground where only seven had previously been scored all season, that was fantastic.

We’re the first team to take a point away from the Etihad all season and when you look at some of the big teams that have gone there and left empty-handed, that’s something to be proud of.

It’s incredible, considering we’ve had seven defeats on the trot there previously that we stopped their chance of matching a top flight league record of 21 home wins in a row.

As bad as we were against Everton on Tuesday; we were good against Manchester City on Saturday.

Deep down, going into it, we might have felt this game could have been a bad one for Sunderland, with them demoralised by the cup and City chasing United with a record in their sights.

It could have gone wrong in a big way but we were brilliant on the day.

How typical is it of Sunderland that when expectations are sky-high – as they were against Everton on Tuesday – that we don’t deliver; yet when no-one’s expecting anything, like against Manchester City on Saturday, we play a blinder?

I was full of pride at the final whistle at the Etihad.

The last goals might have taken the edge off but there was no doubt Sunderland had given City and their fans the shock of their lives, and still emerged with a point at the end of it despite being pegged back.

READ the full Gary Rowell column in Tuesday’s Echo