Sunderland boss O’Neill aware of goal problems after Fulham loss

Nicklas Bendtner
Nicklas Bendtner
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THERE wasn’t much to say about Sunderland’s defeat to Fulham yesterday, so Martin O’Neill didn’t say much.

He recognised the fact that had his team had the sort of clinical finishers he hopes to acquire this summer, then Sunderland might have drawn this game, might even have won it.

But, as he has done for weeks now, he was also quick to remind himself that this season could have been worse.

Much worse.

That it’s important to appreciate the bird in the hand rather than dwell on the two in the bush.

“I think that we missed some gilt-edged chances and eventually that proved the difference in the game,” he summed up, following the Wearsiders’ 2-1 reverse to the Cottagers.

“That’s something we’re aware of.

“But those were relatively simple chances for us and while scoring a goal might sometimes be difficult, I don’t think it’s as difficult as we made it look!

“Having said that, I’m glad that we’ve not come to Fulham under the same sort of pressure that some of the teams below us have been this weekend.”

O’Neill looked at the positives, which was that Sunderland passed the ball well for long spells of the game.

“Overall, I thought it was an encouraging performance by us,” he argued.

“I thought that, in possession, we passed the ball pretty well.

“To concede just after scoring a great equaliser was particularly galling, but I think we got a bit distracted with Stephane Sessegnon having to change his footwear at that time.

“It was a shame because within 10 seconds of their kick-off they’d made it 2-1 – it just nullified our goal straight away and immediately set us on the back foot.

“We should have done better, we should have dealt with it better.

“It hasn’t been a great run for us recently, but it could easily have been better – we went to Man City and drew 3-3 when we should have won; we had a winner chalked off against Aston Villa.

“But we’ve had games where we’ve won this season with less possession – particularly away from home – and while you don’t want to lose games there were some encouraging signs in the way we played.”

H Sunderland Under-18s ended their FA Premier Academy League season with a 3-0 win at Huddersfield. Ross Holland, Reece Noble and substitute Ethan Robson all netted.