Defeat won’t knock Sunderland’s confidence, says O’Neill

Aaron Lennon scores Spurs' winner at the Stadium of Light
Aaron Lennon scores Spurs' winner at the Stadium of Light
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MARTIN O’Neill says yesterday’s defeat to Spurs won’t knock confidence within the Sunderland camp, writes Graeme Anderson.

But he confessed that losing to the Londoners after getting their noses in front at the Stadium of Light still ranked as a disappointment for the Black Cats.

He said: “We played with a lot of commitment and heart and having got ahead just before half-time, it was disappointing to concede two goals in two minutes.

“I couldn’t fault the commitment of the team at all because we kept on going right to the end and I know I would have been happy with three points from these last two fixtures BEFORE they got under way.

“But, having said that, we’d beaten Man City and gone into the Spurs game in good heart, so really we were hoping for maybe a little bit more and it looked like we might get it when we led at the break.”

Sunderland have still taken six points from nine over the festive programme; still won three out of their last five.

And O’Neill believes that those wins and performances from Sunderland have really helped the positivity within the squad.

“The mood has always been upbeat, but winning football matches has given them an extra boost of confidence.

“Beating Southampton and then Man City has improved spirit and I think they are now less frightened of making one or two mistakes at the Stadium of Light.

“Having said that, there were periods in the closing stages of the game where we had really good possession and didn’t make the most of it.

“Yet Adam Johnson pulled a great ball back which Connor Wickham might have touched into the net.

“I’m just a bit disappointed.

“Even keeping an unbeaten run would have been a good thing but at half-time we honestly thought we would go on and win it.”