‘We were sick of excuses, we had to outrun and outwork them’: Sunderland midfielder on responding to Ipswich drubbing

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George Honeyman admitted that a point was not enough for Sunderland on Saturday, but he was pleased his team-mates were able to show the necessary endeavour to the travelling support.

Honeyman, who scored the opening goal in the 2-2 draw at Preston with a fine finish, was applauded off the field alongside the rest of the squad despite ongoing concern about the side’s lowly position.

Honeyman said: “You start getting sick of excuses and being a bit timid, so we just need to show everyone we care.

“We don’t want to go daft and cut someone in half, but everyone was on it on Saturday and wanted to put on a performance for the fans, and that’s why it was so disappointing we only got a point.

“At the end of the day, that’s not enough at the minute.

“It’s not something to build on because we’re 11 games in, but it’s better than Tuesday (5-2 defeat at Ipswich).

“It’s still not what we wanted, but we definitely sent the fans home happier than on Tuesday night. We want to start turning these into wins but it is an improvement from where we are on Tuesday.

“I think there had to be a few home truths after the Ipswich game.

“We were saying before the game that we’re all desperate to do well for this football club, but I don’t know what it is (the reason for poor results), whether it’s nervousness or what, we can’t really put our fingers on it.

“All the lads are desperate to do well and when we have performances like Tuesday’s, it doesn’t look that way.

“We came into this game knowing we wanted to give everything and show that we do care, please the fans and get some positive results.”

Honeyman was thrilled to score his third goal of the season and paid tribute to James Vaughan, whose excellent header in the build-up was key.

He said: “The gaffer knows we’ve got to get around Vaughany and be alert for the second balls and more pro-active than the player you’re playing against.

“Vaughany won a lot and I gave a shout to Lynden (Gooch), who put a great ball into me.

“I had the easy job of sticking it in the net and I’m just delighted because I want to keep doing that.

“We worked a lot on the training ground in the week and one of the things was getting around Vaughany off second balls.

“No one’s going to win every ball and, if we win the second balls it makes Vaughany look as if he’s having a better game than if he wins something in the air and no one picks it up and people go, ‘Long ball again!’

“He always puts himself about and wins his fair share of headers, so we need to be more pro-active, help him out and be even more alert to the second ball.

“I think all the fans will start thinking he’s playing better [if we do].

“We’ve got to help him out more.”

The 2-2 draw means Sunderland enter the international break in second-bottom spot in the Championship and while Honeyman was pleased with the work-rate, he admits that the overwhelming feeling is disappointment.

He said: “I think we were doing too much talking and it was just a case of going out there and giving our all – outrun them, outwork them and we did that.

“When we scored, we maybe sat back a little too much and we should have just kept going as if it was 0-0.

“I think that was our problem in the second half and they got two quick goals, but we responded well.

“I think we had a lot of chances in the game and we’re really disappointed not to come away with a win.”