MARTIN O’Neill was convinced thatc his Sunderland side deserved at least a point after giving Arsenal an unaccustomed battering in the final stages of their game at the Stadium of Light yesterday.
Time and again Sunderland went close to equalising against opponents reduced to 10 men by the dismissal of Carl Jenkinson just after the hour.
And O’Neill said: “I thought we deserved something from the game.
“It was a great game from start to finish.
“The tempo was very high early on and it remained so.
“Arsenal are a top quality team that caused us a lot of problems in the first half, and I also thought we looked dangerous as well, and in the second half we were roaring at them, even before their man (defender Carl Jenkinson) was sent off.
“I just don’t know how, seriously, looking back at some of the chances we had, that we didn’t score.”
O’Neill had recalled Lee Cattermole to the starting line-up after his chances in recent months have been limited by a knee injury.
But the skipper did not reappear after the break with the manager judging discretion was the better part of valour when it came to the captain’s natural competitiveness.
“I wanted Lee Cattermole to play,” he said.
“It was a difficult game for him to come back in, with Arsenal so strong in midfield, and then the early booking makes him a little bit tentative.
“And the last thing I wanted was for him to put a step out of line and get a second yellow card.
“He’d also felt a bit of soreness in his knee, too, so it was a combination of a lot of things not to bring him out again in the second half.
“But those 45 minutes will have brought him on immensely.”
Danny Rose’s hamstring strain which forced him out of action in the dying minutes of the game is not likely to be a long-term injury.
O’Neill said: “It’s very early yet to judge, but all the signs are that this strain is not as bad as the one he has just come back from.”
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