John O’Shea insisted that Sunderland’s battling draw with title-chasing Liverpool proves the team are hanging in there.
The Black Cats twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at the Stadium of Light, Jermain Defoe nervelessly converting two penalties.
That was the bravery we needed to show.
Following the 4-1 drubbing at Burnley, David Moyes’s side showed their grit to move to within a point of Crystal Palace in 17th, although the Eagles have a game in hand.
“That’s what we have to do,” said O’Shea. “We were disappointed against Burnley, but you have to move onto the next game and look to bounce back.
“It’s an important point for us.
“We knew we let ourselves down at Burnley but you need to move on quickly in the Premier League – it’s stating the obvious but points are available every game.
“This was a hard game, Liverpool have just beaten Man City and they were high on confidence, but we deserved the point.
“I’ve played a few games, you can have a bad match, so can the team, but it’s how you react.
“You have to stand up and be counted.
“We showed at times how we can play, moving it out from the back, getting passes into our front players.
“Liverpool attack in great numbers but we felt if we could get the ball into the feet of Jermain, Adnan and Fabio that we have players to hurt teams.
“That was the bravery we needed to show as well as getting our tackles in.
“We stepped up to the mark.
“We’ll look forward again to Burnley in the FA Cup.
“A win on Saturday would be a little boost but it’s also important ahead of Stoke too.”
Sunderland’s squad will be stretched to the limit for the third round clash against the Clarets with Lamine Kone, Didier Ndong and Wahbi Khazri away for the next month on African Cup of Nations duty.
O’Shea says he hopes Moyes will be able to strengthen now the transfer window is open, but also thinks it’s an opportunity for some of the club’s younger players.
“Hopefully we can get a bit of help in,” he said. “The injuries are tough but the other guys have to step up and take responsibility.
“Didier was fantastic, we’ll lose him but it was good to see the application he showed for the whole game.
“We’ll lose him for a few weeks, Lamine and Wahbi too.
“But that might mean a chance for some of the younger boys.
“You never know we might get some help too [in the transfer window].”