Sunderland skipper hails attitude as wait for first league win goes on

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Sunderland’s wait for their first league win goes on but captain John O’Shea has praised his side’s attitude in the draw with West Brom.

The Black Cats started confidently enough but the confidence quickly drained from their play after going a goal down to Nacer Chadli’s 35th minute strike.

They didn’t collapse though, as they had done against Everton and Crystal Palace in their previous Stadium of Light fixtures, and fought their way back through sub Patrick van Aanholt’s late equaliser.

O’Shea was back in central defence alongside Lamine Kone, with £8million summer signing Papy Djilobodji benched.

And the club captain - a contender for man of the match - was impressed with the attitude of his teammates.

“Any team you go a goal down against you give yourself an uphill task,” said O’Shea.

“We had started so well and hoped to take the lead and give everyone a boost. The attitude throughout the game was fantastic.

“On another day we would have taken the lead, normally when JD gets those chances he doesn’t think about where the goal is. They just find the bottom corner.

“It just skipped past the post but he was fantastic for us and was up against some quality defenders.

“He wasn’t getting the quality to him at times but when we did find him, we created things,” he told the club website.

With his side trailing, David Moyes switched formation when Jan Kirchhoff was forced off, with van Aanholt in an advanced role.

O’Shea added: “We didn’t want to lose this game. The manager made some tactical changes at half time to keep more control.

“We did that. We got the goal but weren’t able, unfortunately, to get the winner.

“There was a good attitude from Patrick too, coming on and being positive and getting the goal.

“It wasn’t the cleanest of strikes but it was an important one.

“Also, Duncan [Watmore’s] energy is very important to the team at the moment. It will be crucial for us going forward. A lot of the lads feed off it.

“The positive energy he has on the pitch and off it too. He is a fantastic lad and will go from strength to strength.”

Kirchhoff was stretchered off and will be assessed but it adds to a growing injury list.

“We have been hit by a lot of injuries to important players,” added O’Shea.

“Hopefully after the break we might get one or two back.

“We want to be beating West Brom at home but we had stages were we were pushing and leaving ourselves a bit open at times.

“We deserved to get back into it. We could have won it but happy with the point as we could have lost it too.”

And O’Shea, who played in the recent EFL Cup win over QPR, was pleased to be back in the Sunderland side.

He added: “The manager decided it was my turn and you have to come in and impress. We were desperate for that clean sheet.

“That is the big thing going forward. If we get that then we will get chances to score.”