NICKLAS Bendtner insists Sunderland have not returned to their old habits, despite paying the price for fluffing their lines in front of goal.
Sunderland registered a blank for only the second time under Martin O’Neill in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Chelsea, after Frank Lampard’s fortuitous first half goal proved the difference between the two sides.
But the Black Cats could and should have earned something for their efforts after spurning a series of gilt-edged opportunities – Craig Gardner, Seb Larsson, James McClean and Bendtner all culpable, even though O’Neill felt the latter should have won a second half spot-kick.
Sunderland had netted 13 times in O’Neill’s previous seven games after their profligacy in the final third saw them score just 14 in Steve Bruce’s 15 matches in charge this season.
But Bendtner believes that when the disappointment of losing at Stamford Bridge subsides, Sunderland will retain their attacking confidence when Swansea visit the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Bendtner told the Echo: “I wouldn’t say we’ve gone backwards or anything. We’ve lost a game, perhaps unfairly, but those things happen sometimes.
“If we can keep playing like we did on Saturday, then it looks really bright.
“We were a bit unfortunate at not getting the ball in the goal. We created some really good chances and played some good stuff, but for some reason it didn’t go our way.
“We did really well in the game and should have got something out of it.
“Everyone was really disappointed with it.
“There were a lot of positives to take from the game and we’ve got to take that, even though the disappointment afterwards was huge.
“But we’ll look at it this week with brighter eyes.”
Fit-again Bendtner returned to the starting line-up after missing the previous weekend’s FA Cup third round victory at Peterborough with a knee injury.
The on-loan Arsenal hitman provided an effective platform for strike partner Stephane Sessegnon, as Chelsea’s fragile defence struggled to contain the Benin international.
Bendtner added: “I’m okay fitness-wise after having a knee problem. I trained on Friday and played on Saturday.
“It was tiring after the game on Saturday, but it passes.
“We have a good partnership going (Bendtner and Sessegnon) and we play well together which is very positive.
“It always helps if you have different styles. If you’re the same type, it doesn’t always work.
“But we can supply each other in different ways.
“He’s a very good player, as you see in one-against ones. His turning is magnificent.”