Tony Mowbray sends message of thanks to Sunderland support in verdict on Luton Town draw
Tony Mowbray sent a message of praise to Sunderland’s support after watching his side secure a late point against Luton Town.
The Black Cats had fallen behind to an Alfie Doughty free kick early in the second half, and were struggling to create chances against a side sitting fourth in the Championship table.
Mowbray’s quadruple substitution helped improve his side’s attacking threat and they got level after Amad converted a penalty which he had won when brought down in the box – a decision that Luton probably fairly felt was unjustified.
However, the Sunderland head coach didn’t feel it was a game that his side deserved to lose and thanked the supporters for sticking with his players who are missing a number of key figures due to injury.
“I think we were unfortunate to be behind, I don't think either team looked as if they were there, going to score at any minute,” Mowbray said.
“They score from a free kick that comes through a crowd of bodies and the goalkeeper doesn't see it until very late. We needed to react that and I just felt we needed more energy on the pitch. It wasn't about replacing people not doing well, it was just about bringing energy.
“We changed formation to try and keep the width but get a bit more down the middle. We got there in the end, whether it was a penalty or not. My opinion is that we didn't deserve to lose, so we'll take it against a side who other than Burnley have taken the most points away from home this season.
“We are missing certain ingredients as a team but we have to get on with it. We were competitive today.I think it's right to say that the supporters really played their part today, I felt as if at 1-0 down they really, really got behind the team and I hope that's because they see the ingredients of the team, at the moment we can't expect to win every game. They hopefully see a team fighting for the football club, I don't pander to fans - not because I don't appreciate them, but today I was stood think there thinking 'wow', they were really with the team. Hopefully that's a part of the reason we were able to get back in it and didn't lose the match.”
Mowbray was left frustrated with his side’s struggle to create in the first half but said he couldn’t criticise a young group, who were unchanged for the third game in a row at the end of a demanding week.
Mowbray said: “I have to be careful with this inexperienced group that I'm not overly critical of them. It seemed a little slow in the first half, not looking forward enough.
“But I don't want to be blasting them all the time at half time, it doesn't work with young players. We tried to give them belief and ultimately it was probably the substitutions that gave us that spark.
“I think they're doing great, that's the team fourth in the league and we want them to keep going, keep competing.”