Sunderland boss Alex Neil delivers verdict on Rangers abandonment and 'impressive' display

Alex Neil rued a ‘frustrating evening’ after a floodlight failure forced Sunderland’s pre-season friendly against Rangers to be abandoned.
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The Black Cats were leading 1-0 at half time thanks to a Luke O’Nien goal, and had produced a performance that greatly encouraged the head coach.

Power at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira cut out just as the players were taking to the field for the second half, and after a delay of half an hour both teams agreed to cancel the game as darkness fell.

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Neil will now have to reassess his plans in the build up to Wednesday’s friendly against Roma, which brings the club’s training camp to an end.

Luke O'Nien celebrates his goalLuke O'Nien celebrates his goal
Luke O'Nien celebrates his goal

“We'll need to have a think about what we do now,” Neil said.

“Obviously the lads who came back a bit later after international duty, they were only going to play 60 but the others needed the 90 really.

“That's certainly frustrating, it puts us behind where we wanted to be. We've got Roma coming up and I'll have to have a think about that now as well [in terms of the team].

“It's not great for us.

The Sunderland Echo are bringing you coverage of SAFC's pre-season coverageThe Sunderland Echo are bringing you coverage of SAFC's pre-season coverage
The Sunderland Echo are bringing you coverage of SAFC's pre-season coverage
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“To be honest as well, we played so well in the first 45 against a really strong team, we'd have liked to have seen it through and tried to put two halves together.

“All in all, a frustrating evening.”

The Europa League finalists had named a strong side for the game, but O’Nien scored from a corner to hand his side a deserved lead.

They were the more dangerous either side of that strike, with Patrick Roberts, Dennis Cirkin and Elliot Embleton all going close.

That was a comfort for Neil even if the rest of the night was frustrating.

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“I thought we were the better team, scored a good goal and had the better of the opportunities,” Neil said.

“I can't really remember them having too many opportunities.

“The lads who came back late for pre-season looked sharp, we had some really good passing combinations.

“Our shape was excellent, we hunted and pressed the ball well as a unit.

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“In terms of the minutes we played, I'm really pleased with what we did.”

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