Sunderland went into their game at Manchester United buoyed by their midweek win over Reading but taxed by injuries – neither Phil Bardsley nor Danny Rose able to shake off injuries sustained against the Royals.
Martin O’Neill’s solution was to play Jack Colback at left-back in place of Rose while asking Carlos Cuellar to move over to right-back to accommodate a central defensive pairing of John O’Shea and Titus Bramble.
That allowed O’Neill to keep Craig Gardner in a central midfield he shared with Seb Larsson.
MAN UTD: De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Young, Rooney, van Persie. Subs: Lindegaard, Giggs, Hernandez, Vidic, Welbeck, Scholes, Fletcher
SUNDERLAND: Mignolet, Cuellar, O’Shea, Bramble, Colback, Larsson, Gardner, Johnson, McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs: Westwood, Campbell, Wickham, McFadden, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Saha
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)