MARTIN O’Neill was delighted that his under-rated, under-strength Sunderland side were able to fight and scrap their way to a point at the Emirates on Saturday.
But he hopes to reinforce the squad in the next 10 days to ensure rearguard actions don’t become the norm.
“At this moment in time, we haven’t yet got our squad up to strength and I always felt coming to the Emirates, first game up, was always going to be difficult,” he said.
“That proved to be the case as the game wore on.
“We got to the point where we were very, very tired and, after the hour mark, the game took its toll on Stephane Sessegnon, in particular, who has done very little all summer since his return.
“We managed to look dangerous on a couple of occasions relatively early on in the game and maybe James McClean or Jack Colback might have threatened more with chances in the first half.
“But we started to run out of energy and, let’s be honest, we were holding on at the end.
“I’m sure coming though that that game will bring us on immensely.”
O’Neill will now devote all his energies to making more breakthroughs in the transfer market ahead of the August 31 deadline.
He said: “I had hoped to have more players in before the Arsenal game, but, unfortunately, we haven’t.
“I know we need more attacking options and that’s something I’m working on.
“David Moyes said the other day he felt he had 13 or 14 squad players he could rely on, players he could hang his hat on.
“I don’t know if we even have that, but we do have tremendous spirit and that is serving us well – particularly in a game like this one.
“We’re still pushing for the signings I want and I’d like to get the players in that I’m seeking, but if I can’t get those players I will seek others.
“Perhaps some of us were waiting for other clubs, the bigger clubs, to make moves and perhaps we shouldn’t have.”
“There’s no doubt we need to strengthen and particularly up front.
“I was pleased with Louis Saha’s debut – he showed some great touches – but I don’t expect to get 38 games out of him.
“So I’m hoping to get some more players in because, quite simply, we need to.
“We need to.”