Rowell Report: Solid in defence

Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
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IT IS a massive challenge going to Spurs these days and it was always going to be by far the tougher of our London double-header.

Sunderland were never out of the game even though, over the 90 minutes, Spurs were good value for the win.

There can be no complaints at the result, but the game never got away from us and we could easily have grabbed a point.

You can make a good comparison with last month’s game at Old Trafford, when Man United couldn’t get away and one goal decided it.

I was encouraged before the game that Gareth Bale was not going to play and when Aaron Lennon went off, things seemed to be going Sunderland’s way.

Luka Modric had to go out to the left and although he drifts infield, he doesn’t see as much of the ball out there.

Sunderland looked tight and well organised and still, no one has beaten us by more than one goal this season.

For all it has been a disappointing campaign so far, no one has taken us to the cleaners and we’ve played all the top teams, other than Manchester City.

Kieran Richardson, Seb Larsson and David Vaughan all tested the goalkeeper and then right at the death, I thought Nicklas Bendtner had a great chance.

It was a difficult one and he made it himself with a one-two. But just when you want that composure to hit the target, whether it was a rush of blood or whatever, he skied it high and wide.

Defensively, though Sunderland looked really sound because I have seen Spurs absolutely destroy teams this season.

Spurs were perhaps not firing on all cylinders without Bale and Lennon, but you have to give Sunderland credit for making it difficult for them, which is what you do away from home.

To read the rest of the Rowell Report, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.