Sunderland debutant Muntari rues Stoke mistakes

Sulley Muntari
Sulley Muntari
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FRUSTRATED debutant Sulley Muntari admits Steve Bruce’s pre-match video briefing should have resulted in better from Sunderland’s defence.

Sunderland suffered back-to-back defeats for only the second time this season at Stoke City on Saturday, despite twice leading at the Britannia Stadium.

Bruce’s side were unable to deal with the Potters from set pieces, with all three of Stoke’s goals coming from dead-ball situations, although the first two should have been ruled out by referee Lee Probert.

On-loan Inter Milan midfielder Muntari, who impressed in his first appearance in English football since his spell at Portsmouth two-and-a-half years ago, revealed Black Cats boss Bruce had given Sunderland plenty of warning of what to expect from Stoke.

Muntari said: “Before the game, the manager showed us all the videos with the way they score goals from set-pieces.

“Then we conceded goals in the same way.

“We’ll have to try our best to do better.

“It was very tough because they play a lot of high balls, which is difficult to handle.

“But we have a good team here and good management too, so we’ll definitely come back from this and do well.”

The 26-year-old added: “It’s lovely coming back to English football.

“I enjoy this kind of football – very hard, very competitive, quick and having to be strong mentally.

“It was hard to concede a goal so late because we scored and they equalised twice.

“We’re not as tall as them, so it wasn’t easy.

“Stoke’s a hard place to go. We managed to hold them until the end but it was disappointing.”

Muntari was one of three Ghanaians in the Sunderland line-up, with Asamoah Gyan scoring his ninth of the season and John Mensah making his first appearance of 2011.

Gyan and Mensah played a key role in Muntari returning to the Premier League and the midfielder is delighted to be reunited with his national team-mates at the Stadium of Light.

“I spoke to both John and Asa before I spoke to the manager and they said it’s a good place to be,” he said.

“I came over and the facilities are fantastic – everything is great. It’s lovely seeing them here – we had the same thing at Udinese.

“But the important thing is that we’ve got other guys who are willing to do well.

“I’ve played with Asa for the national team and for Udinese, so I pretty much know how he wants the ball.

“Most of the time he wants it in behind defenders so that makes it easier for me to know him. He’s a good player.”