Sam Allardyce hails 'best performance' yet - despite Sunderland going down 3-1 to Arsenal

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce hailed his side's performance in the defeat to Arsenal

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce hailed his side's performance in the defeat to Arsenal

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Black Cats boss Sam Allardyce has labelled the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal as the best performance since he took charge.

And Allardyce says it shows how far Sunderland have come that they went away from the Emirates Stadium disappointed not to have won.

The Gunners ran out 3-1 winners but the scoreline didn't reflect the match, with the Black Cats more than a match for title-chasing Arsenal.

Fabio Borini, Steven Fletcher and Duncan Watmore all missed good openings, with the game evenly matched.

Arsenal's quality eventually shone through.

But Allardyce was left proud of his players and their efforts.

Allardyce said: "I felt we could have won, never mind got a draw.

"But we didn't because of our frailties in front of goal.

"We didn't score when we created to get in front and because of that we ended up losing.

"When we did have the chance for a last gasp equaliser, which I felt we deserved, unfortunately Patrick [Van Aanholt] put it over the bar.

"A frustrating day for us but I was encouraged by the performance.

"Sad for them we didn't have our shooting boots on.

"We should have scored two or three today but didn't."

Joel Campbell and Olivier Giroud scored either side of a Giroud own goal, with Aaron Ramsey netting a late third to seal the three points for Arsene Wenger's side.

Allardyce though was pleased with the effort and application shown by his side.

He added: "It is coming together and the lads are showing more belief in their abilities.

"That is good from my point of view.

"I have to say we were tested today and stood up to that.

"Jermain Defoe, Lee Cattermole and Seb Larsson - key players for us - were unfit to be selected.

"The lads that stepped in and gave the best performance since I have been here.

"That is encouraging.

"If you play and create as much you have to come away with something, we should have done, but didn't."