Angry Sam Allardyce has criticised Sunderland’s “crime” of letting Newcastle back into the Tyne-Wear derby by inviting pressure on themselves.
Sunderland were in the ascendancy for the opening hour against their relegation rivals at St James’s Park and got their noses in front when Jermain Defoe netted his 12th Premier League goal of the season just before the interval.
But then the tiring Black Cats inexplicably began to sit back in an attempt to defend their one-goal lead, despite manager Allardyce repeatedly urging his team to push further forwards.
It allowed an unconvincing Newcastle side back into the game, with Sunderland punished in the final 10 minutes when Aleksandar Mitrovic headed home an equaliser to leave the Black Cats in the relegation zone heading into the two-week international break.
Allardyce said: “We started sitting back when we had no need to. Why did we have to sit back?
“We didn’t have to. We were in that much control of the game and putting Newcastle under that much pressure, to sit back and let them come back was a crime for me. A real crime.
“You have to say to yourself ‘push up, defend the throw-in, carry on attacking like you have been’.
“Sometimes you can see the players thinking ‘Well, I don’t want to go, I’ll stay here and be safe’.
“By doing that, we allowed too much pressure on us and that was sad for me.”
Sunderland at least prevented Newcastle from leapfrogging them in the table and denying new manager Rafa Benitez a win in his first home game at the helm.
But the Black Cats had the better of the opportunities – Patrick van Aanholt drawing a stunning save out of keeper Rob Elliot – before their attempts to register a clean sheet were thwarted for the 16th game on the spin.
“We are glad we haven’t lost a derby but when you are in that much control and you have shown you can handle the pressure like we did, then you have to take full advantage,” added Allardyce.
“The full advantage was to score more goals with those chances we created and because we didn’t, we ended up drawing the game again.
“We will concede goals because that is a nasty habit we have, but we should have scored more goals.”