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Jamie McAllister reflects on Arsenal experience - and Sunderland's 'outstanding' support

Jamie McAllister says Sunderland are hopeful that fans will able to continue attending games, after hailing their 'outstanding' support at the Emirates on Tuesday night.

By Phil Smith
Friday, 24th December 2021, 6:00 am

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As it stands there are no caps on attendances in grounds, with any crowds of over 10,000 requiring fans to provide COVID certification.

But it remains unclear for how long that will remain the case, with Scotland and Wales both moving games behind closed doors after Christmas due to surging infection rates as the Omicron variant spreads.

Sunderland' s home form has improved drastically since the return of fans this season, and McAllister says it is a massive

Nathan Broadhead scores for Sunderland at the Emirates

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"They've been top drawer," McAllister said.

"Even the other night at the Emirates, they were outstanding.

"Even just as we coming in on the bus, and around the pubs and the ground singing the songs, it was incredible.

"They've been behind us all season, and it's not the same without them.

"Mikel Arteta said it after the game and he's right, the game is nothing when you take the fans away.

"It's important we stay safe and hopefully we can keep fans at the games."

McAllister says he was pleased with how his side coped with the step up in quality against Arteta's side on Tuesday, even though the final result was a heavy defeat.

The Black Cats were right in the game thanks to Nathan Broadhead's goal shortly before half time, and McAllister says it proves to the players that they can compete at higher levels if they continue to improve.

"The scoreline suggests it was a heavy defeat but I thought there were spells in the game where the lads were excellent." he said.

"After we scored I thought we were the better team for 15-20 minutes at the end of that half.

"I think it just showed the lads the level that we want to get to, and that they can play against a side of that calibre and compete.

"They conducted themselves very well for long spells of the game.

"When we wen 3,4-1 down, it becomes easier for Arsenal to play and dictate things.

"We've got to take the positives and move on, and look to build on the good form we've had in the league."

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