SUNDERLAND boss Steve Bruce said the Black Cats “posed a real threat” in their 1-0 loss at Manchester United.
The game was decided by an own goal from the unfortunate former United star Wes Brown in added time at the end of the first half.
The hosts raised their game in the second half without being completely on top for sustained periods and Sunderland came strong at the end.
Bruce said: “It’s such a shame for Wes to score on own goal. We seem to make a habit of conceding own goals at Old Trafford.
“It’s especially disappointing because the back four and the goalkeeper were terrific today.
“Defensively we were excellent. I can’t remember ever being as comfortable in a first half against a Manchester United team, but unfortunately we fell to a set piece.
“We posed a real threat and it’s disappointing because when you play so well here you’ve got to take your chances, but unfortunately we never managed to do that.”
Other than the goal, the game - which marked Sir Alex Ferguson’s 25th anniversary in charge of United - had two big moments, one controversial and the other brilliant.
Sunderland were awarded a second-half penalty only for the officials to reverse the decision after rightly coming to the conclusion at handball in the box was by visiting sub Ji Dong-won.
The moment of brilliance came later when Black Cats’ keeper Kieren Westwood - in for the injured Simon Mignolet - produced a stunning double save to keep his side in with a sniff of taking at least a point.
Bruce told safc.com: “With the penalty shout the right decision was made. There wasn’t any real clarity on it even after seeing a replay.
“It was a handball, we could all see that. Ultimately we’ve got no complaints.
“Keiren Westwood has been knocking on my door looking to get a chance in the team and he played very well today. All of those training sessions he’s put in have paid off for him today.
“As always, the fans were great. The support for our club is fantastic, they travelled in numbers to see their team and they can be pleased with them today.
“We weren’t quite good enough to get something out of it but certainly gave a good performance.”