Michael Appleton delivered this verdict on his team's Sunderland draw and how they approached it

Michael Appleton hailed his side's 'outstanding' response to a difficult first half at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night, admitting that his side had initially struggled to contain Sunderland.

The Black Cats dominated the first half but couldn't make it count, and for much of the second half the visitors were in the ascendancy.

They created the bulk of their chances from set plays but controlled much of the contest, though Appleton was indebted to his goalkeeper Chris Maxwell for a brilliant late save from Jack Clarke.

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“In the first-half we were a little bit tentative and showed them a bit too much respect," Appleton said.

Danny Batth heads at goal during Sunderland's 0-0 draw with Blackpool

“I don’t know if that was down to belief, but I’d like to think we as a group came together at half-time and recognised what was needed.

“In the second-half, I thought we were outstanding. I felt at one point we were like the home team and we were waiting for the net to bulge, there were that many opportunities. The only problem is they were falling for defenders or midfield players who aren’t used to scoring goals.

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"The two boys Pritchard and Embleton in that number 10 role caused us a few issues which I felt we dealt with at half-time.

“Clearly the two wide boys are a massive part of their game but we were almost happy for them to have the ball in the wide areas and try and show them down the line rather than show them inside, but there were a couple of occasions where we lost our concentration.

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“From a physical output, it was difficult. But the reality is at this level if you want to win games of football you have to do both sides of the game, you have to see things out, you have to stay with runners and be disciplined.

“That was the message at half-time and we upped the ante, we pressed a little bit higher, we got a bit more aggressive and we created a lot more opportunities ourselves.”

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Blackpool face Watford and Sheffield United in their next two Championship fixtures.