Rowell Report: Heroic performance from Sunderland with no weak links

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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A SECOND consecutive goalless draw doesn’t sound too thrilling, but Sunderland’s performance against Chelsea was top drawer.

Every single player in a red and white shirt gave absolutely everything, as they more than matched a quality Chelsea team.

What must have thrilled Gus Poyet was how few clear-cut chances Chelsea created, as Sunderland defended heroically and with intelligence.

It would be unfair to say it was just a backs-to-the-wall defensive performance though, as Sunderland had chances and the longer the game went on, I thought we might even nick it.

Lee Cattermole was again immense and he deserved his man of the match award, while John O’Shea frustrated Diego Costa so much the Chelsea striker could have received two red cards.

But really, everybody played their part and there was no weak link.

I attended the press conference after the game and the difference in demeanour between Poyet and Jose Mourinho was chalk and cheese.

Poyet couldn’t hide his delight with a point even many Sunderland fans didn’t expect, while Mourinho was disappointed at dropping two points in a game he clearly expected to win.

Bizarrely, he managed to praise and criticise Sunderland at the same time.

Taking into account the opposition, Sunderland played as well as they have done all season, and are showing more and more that the horror show at Southampton was a freakish one-off.