LEE CATTERMOLE sympathised with Brede Hangeland, yet backed referee Lee Probert’s decision to send off the Fulham skipper.
Hangeland’s first-half dismissal proved the turning point of yesterday’s Premier League clash at Craven Cottage after the Norwegian clattered into Cattermole with a two-footed challenge as the pair vied to contest a 50-50 ball.
The Sunderland captain has been a victim himself this season of the clamp-down on reckless tackles after being sent off for the fifth time in his Black Cats career in September’s Capital One Cup victory at MK Dons.
And although Cattermole accepted there was no malice in Hangeland’s challenge, he believes the centre-half deserved to earn his marching orders.
Cattermole, back in the Black Cats’ side after missing the previous weekend’s defeat at Everton with a knee injury, said: “At the time, I thought it was two-footed and the rules say that you can’t do that.
“It was unfortunate and not malicious. I don’t think it was too bad, but you can’t do that.”
Sunderland took advantage of their extra man as they secured a first victory on the road since February and only a second Premier League win of the campaign.
Cattermole is under no illusions about the magnitude of the three points after only goal difference had separated Martin O’Neill’s side from the drop zone at the start of the day.
And with four of Sunderland’s next five games at the Stadium of Light, Cattermole hopes victory will prove to be a watershed in propelling the Wearsiders up the Premier League table.
The midfielder added: “Every game’s a tough game and we’ve found ourselves playing well but not getting the results we deserved.
“This was a massive game for us and we got the three points we deserved.
“We’ve got back to back home games now so it’s something we can build on.
“We’ll take a lot of confidence from that and keep working and try to climb the table.”