JOZY ALTIDORE admits he was left stunned by referee Martin Atkinson’s decision to deny him a first Premier League goal in Sunderland colours.
Summer signing Altidore looked to have grabbed a second equaliser for Sunderland in Saturday’s clash with Arsenal after shrugging off the challenge of Gunners skipper Bacary Sagna and then trickling the ball over the line.
But Atkinson then infuriated the Stadium of Light by failing to play the advantage, bringing the play back for a foul by Sagna and only booking the French defender.
It proved costly for Sunderland, with Arsenal going on to secure a 3-1 victory to leave the Black Cats bottom of the Premier League table with just a solitary point from four games.
Altidore told the Echo: “Of course I thought that was my first goal in the Premier League. You don’t get chances like that in this league very often and I thought I had my goal.
“It was very disappointing.
“I didn’t hear the whistle or anything. I don’t think Sagna heard anything because he kept going and I think it was (Kieran) Gibbs who tried to get it out of the goal so he obviously didn’t hear anything either.
“The keeper came out and played the ball like it was live.
“It crossed the line OK as well, so it’s disappointing.”
Altidore’s “goal” came in a much-improved second half from Sunderland after Arsenal dominated the opening 45 minutes, albeit they only had Olivier Giroud’s opener to show for their efforts.
The American international says Sunderland cannot afford to begin games so sluggishly if they are to get out of their predicament in the bottom three.
But Altidore insists there is no panic in the Black Cats camp at their start to the season and believes they showed in the second half against Arsenal the level they must reach to threaten opposition sides.
“You don’t get time in the Premier League before people are talking about relegation and stuff,” added Altidore. “But everybody is calm still.
“We still have plenty of time, but we understand that we have to start getting points.
“I thought the second half was good, but we can’t wait for teams.
“You can’t wait in this league, there’s too much quality.
“You have to start the game like we did in the second half.
“Arsenal had a lot of chances in the first half, but we put them on edge in the second half. If we had started the game like that, I think we would have got something.
“We need that intensity because that’s how we’re going to get more chances.
“We’re not going to tap the ball around teams like Barcelona.
“We’re going to get chances by being aggressive, by being tenacious and we have to keep doing that.”