KIERAN Richardson was under no illusions about the magnitude of his goal in helping Sunderland reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Richardson drove home his third of the season six minutes before the interval in the weekend’s 2-0 success after Arsenal failed to sufficiently clear Seb Larsson’s free-kick.
It provided the platform for what became a well-earned victory for Martin O’Neill’s side, who out-fought and out-thought an Arsenal side whose week of misery continued after their 4-0 drubbing at AC Milan three days earlier.
“It’s great to score a goal in such a big match,” said Richardson. “Seb put a great ball in for the free-kick and it popped up and I latched onto it quite quickly. I thought if I could get it on target it might have a chance of going in.
“I thought the team were tremendous, we worked very hard and we deserved the win.
“Every single person on that pitch was top notch. I couldn’t pick out anyone who was better than anyone else.
“I watched Arsenal’s game in midweek and we knew they would be a bit tired after all the travelling. We’d had that ourselves last week when we played extra-time against Middlesbrough.
“Training had been great for us. We had a rest and we got a gameplan which we performed to a tee.”
Sunderland now prepare for next Saturday’s visit to Richardson’s former club West Bromwich Albion and the 27-year-old is confident O’Neill’s men won’t be distracted by their cup commitments.
“I always enjoy going back to the Baggies, I had one of the best times of my career there,” said Richardson, who helped West Brom to Premier League survival in 2005 after a four-month loan spell at the Hawthorns.
“Hopefully we can go there and get three points.
“We’re thinking about West Brom straightaway now and climbing that league.”