I’M never happy if Sunderland lose, but unlike the Aston Villa and Boro defeats at least we saw Sunderland playing with a sense of purpose and resolve at Everton.
Just as significantly, we created a lot more chances than we normally do, thanks largely to a welcome return to form of our creative players.
If we could have taken one or two more of those chances we might now have been talking about a Sunderland victory, but the slender one goal lead we had always looked as though it might not be enough for all three points.
Maybe Lee Cattermole would have given more protection to the back-four, maybe we could have defended a little bit better for the two goals.
But in the end the simple reality was we couldn’t hold on to a lead against one of the Premier League’s best teams and we had to take our medicine.
I know that some people might struggle to see beyond the result itself: Everton 2 Sunderland 1. Another defeat.
But sometimes you have got to look deeper than that and the simple fact is there were a lot of plus points we can take from the game.
There’s a saying in football, and it’s true, that it’s better to have lost a game after creating a stack of chances than to lose a game having created none.
If you’ve missed a boatload, you feel that the next time around if you do the same, you’ll inevitably take one or two. Confidence doesn’t really suffer that much because you know you are creating going forward.
It is when you have been on a run like Sunderland have, where you are regularly creating zilch, that alarm bells start ringing.
The good thing about Saturday was that for the first time this season Sunderland looked like a fluent, attacking Premier League team.
If they continue in the same vein and build on it, there’s absolutely no doubt their season will soon pick up.
READ the full Gary Rowell column in Tuesday’s Echo