STEVE Bruce contained himself well as he faced the massed media in Arsenal’s impressive amphitheatre Press Room after Saturday’s goalless draw.
Inside though, the Sunderland manager was beaming.
He would have understood before he entered the room that the questioning would be all about whether or not Arsenal had choked as they looked to put pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester United.
But more importantly, as far as he was concerned, Sunderland had earned the most excellent of away points.
And before the national news men started in on the title-race questioning, he wanted to make his own point. “I’m delighted with the result,” he said.
“We needed a response after last week because we were shocking at Everton and, thankfully, we got it.
“We have been hit with injuries, with five or six out, so it has been difficult in terms of the numbers we’ve had to choose from.
“But the response was terrific from them – especially first-half. I can’t remember being as comfortable here for a long time.
“We had a few hairy moments in the last 10-15 minutes, but, overall, I thought we deserved to get something from it.”
While he bemoaned his own injury list, Bruce was the first to admit that Arsenal’s inability to call on the crocked talents of Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott worked in Sunderland’s favour.
“That was our bit of luck, if you like,” he said. “Even the mighty Arsenal can struggle without their best and we benefited from that.
“But I thought we were good value for our point overall – we played some good stuff and kept at it.
“Yes, Arsenal had their chances and there might have been a bit of controversy over their goal which was ruled offside.
“But maybe we deserved that bit of luck because we played well and were very, very close to pinching a goal ourselves when Danny Welbeck got a shot in and was only denied by a great save.”